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    “Exhuma” Film Summary & Ending Explained

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    “Exhuma,” the South Korean horror-thriller by Jae-hyun Jang, tricks you into thinking it’s a bottomless pit of secrets with a simple move.

    You’ll feel like you’re on a wild rollercoaster ride trying to figure out where the story is headed. But don’t worry if you’re not an expert on Japanese-Korean history or Korean Feng Shui traditions – it’s normal to struggle to catch all the references.

    In fact, you might not even realize that “Exhuma” isn’t really that scary at first, it’s more like a crash course on its themes.

    But once you start to know about the history and myths behind the ghosts and spirits, you’ll see “Exhuma” in a whole new way. So, if you’re feeling lost after the first watch, give it another shot after reading this article.

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    In ancient Korea, people avoided burying their loved ones in places where foxes roamed. They feared the foxes might disturb the graves.

    This belief is closely tied to the principles of Feng Shui, which is deeply ingrained in Korean culture. It’s not entirely separate from science.

    Park Ji-yong is fed up with relying solely on Western medicine to help his newborn son. Seeking an alternative, he calls upon a shaman named Hwarim and her assistant, Bong-gil.

    They quickly sense a dark presence around the Park family and realize there’s a generational curse affecting them.

    The curse originates from Park Ji-yong’s grandfather, who has been reaching out from beyond the grave.

    To break the curse, they decide to exhume his grave. This practice seems to be fairly common in Korea, especially among the wealthy, with experts like geomancer Sang-deok guiding the process.

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    Sang-deok is skilled in Feng Shui and usually selects optimal locations for graves and buildings.

    However, he’s hesitant about Ji-yong’s grandfather’s grave being on a fox-infested mountain. According to Feng Shui principles, foxes and graves are a bad mix.

    Despite Sang-deok’s concerns, the allure of a substantial payment entices him. Yet, he’s cautious and respects the rituals involved, fearing the consequences of any mistakes.

    The juxtaposition of ancient beliefs with modern science adds depth to the cultural significance of Feng Shui in Korea.

    It’s not just superstition but a blend of tradition and practicality.

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    What Got Grandfather Park So Mad?

    That’s the big question bothering everyone in Ji-yong’s family. Hwarim and Sang-deok, mainly worried about Ji-yong’s newborn, almost dropped the whole thing.

    But they decided to go ahead with Hwarim’s ritual for a safe exhumation. The plan would’ve worked fine if the morgue guy didn’t open the coffin.

    As they try to move Grandfather Park’s spirit to Ji-yong’s house, things get intense. Hwarim senses something fishy.

    Then, tragedy strikes—Ji-yong’s parents meet a terrible end, and Ji-yong himself gets possessed and killed. It’s heart-wrenching for Sang-deok and the gang, who tried their best to protect the family.

    Now, why was Grandfather Park out for revenge? His burial spot was a Feng Shui disaster, keeping his spirit restless for a century. He felt ignored by his family, suffering from hunger and thirst in his coffin.

    That’s why he binges on food and drinks gallons of water before going on a rampage.

    Grandfather Park is furious, wanting to drag his family to the dark world. His words through Bong-gil reveal his dark plan.

    But just before he can harm Ji-yong’s newborn, Sang-deok gets permission to cremate him. Finally, Grandfather Park’s spirit is banished, sparing the innocent.

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    The Secret Explained

    Ji-yong’s auntie revealed the shocking truth about the Park family’s secret. It turned out that Grandfather Park, despite his loyalty to the Japanese, was a traitor who sold out his own country during the Japanese occupation of Korea.

    He received money and power as a reward for his betrayal, which still determined the status of the Park family.

    To bury their shame, they entered Grandfather Park atop a mountain near the 38th Parallel, the border between North and South Korea.

    However, the mystery deepened when an unusually large coffin was unearthed beneath Grandfather Park’s grave, revealing a vicious spirit of a demonic samurai.

    Sang-deok and Hwarim sought answers from Ji-yong’s auntie, who claimed ignorance about the reason behind the dreadful burial site.

    Despite Sang-deok’s suspicions and discoveries, the truth about the Park family’s dark past was finally revealed.

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    The Snake

    Ever thought about that creepy snake in “Exhuma” and what it really means? Well, besides all the talk about water, fire, earth, wood, and metal in Korean Feng Shui, the movie hints at Taoism, a Chinese belief system.

    Just like in Feng Shui, Taoism says the balance between these elements is super important.

    Now, let’s talk about that snake. A grave digger made a huge mistake by killing it when they dug up Grandfather Park’s coffin.

    Since then, things haven’t been right, especially for Sang-deok, who wants to fix things. If you take a good look, the snake’s head kinda looks like a person, right?

    That’s because it’s not just any snake; it’s a Nure Onna, a creature from Japanese stories with a woman’s head and a snake’s body.

    Here’s the twist: According to Taoism, the snake was the only water element in the grave, keeping everything in balance and trapping the Anima, a Japanese demon.

    But when they killed the Nure Onna, it messed up the balance and set the Anima free.

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    The Iron Stakes

    In the depths of Korean history lies a tale as intricate as the threads of fate itself. It all begins with the Boguksa temple, a sanctuary steeped in ancient secrets.

    Sang-deok’s journey begins as he goes deeper into the mysteries moving beyond the temple’s walls.

    He finds out the whispers of grave robbers from a bygone era, their legacy echoing through time in the remnants they left behind.

    But these were no ordinary thieves; they were the heralds of a greater cause, the Iron Blood Alliance.

    Their quest? To unearth the legendary iron stakes, hidden beneath the soil by the hands of patriots and possibly shamans.

    These stakes, remnants of a tumultuous past, held the key to Korea’s need. For in a land where Feng Shui weaves the tapestry of destiny, the stakes stood as guardians against foreign intrusion.

    Long ago, the Japanese sought to cripple Korea’s spirit, driving iron stakes into the earth to sever its connection to the life force that pulses through its veins.

    Yet, amidst the shadows of history, a revelation dawns upon Sang-deok. The cryptic words of possession hold a clue, “The fox cut off the tiger’s waist.”

    Slowly, the pieces fall into place, revealing a truth buried beneath layers of deception. The tiger, a symbol of Korea, is map divided by the cruel touch of iron stakes.

    Grandfather Park’s resting place, a mere facade concealing the stake’s true location, the very heart of Korea’s soul.

    As Sang-deok deciphers the enigma before him, the coordinates etched upon the tomb reveal the final revelation.

    The iron stake lies beneath, a silent sentinel marking the divide of a nation’s destiny. And so, the tale of the Iron Stakes intertwines with Korea’s past, a testament to the enduring spirit that refuses to be bound by chains of oppression.

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    What is the Role of Gisune?

    Gisune is a mysterious character in the story of “Exhuma.” But to understand who he is, we have to start with Anima’s origin.

    Sang-deok and Hwarim made a grave mistake by bringing Anima’s coffin to Boguksa temple. Little did they know, nothing could contain the spirit inside that coffin, not even horse blood or sticky rice.

    The Anima, hungry for blood, took control of Bong-gil, turning him into its puppet. What’s really interesting about this creepy spirit is its love for sweetfish and melons, which connects it to its past life as a Japanese samurai who adored sweetfish.

    But turning a regular samurai into such a powerful being like the Anima must have required someone really powerful. And that’s where Gisune steps in.

    Hwarim’s sister recognizes Gisune as a Japanese Onmyoji, a powerful spiritualist. It’s said that Hwarim’s master once encountered this scary Onmyoji and lived to tell the tale.

    The film hints at Gisune’s identity by calling him “the fox” and showing him in pictures with Grandfather Park.

    This, along with the foxes around the grave and the repeated fox references, suggests Gisune’s true nature.

    It seems like Gisune is linked to the Japanese Kitsune, powerful fox spirits in Japanese stories.

    So, to put it simply, Gisune was an evil fox spirit who transformed the Japanese samurai into the bloodthirsty Anima. He instructed the Park family to bury Grandfather Park on top of Anima’s coffin to keep its location hidden.

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    The Death of Anima

    In Exhuma, we’ve seen Sang-deok, Hwarim, Bong-gil, and even Young-geun, the mortician, as heroes who’d do anything for others. Sure, they got into this because of a rich client, but amidst all the chaos, they understood how serious it was and went through a lot to fix it.

    Hwarim and Bong-gil stepped up to help with Anima’s coffin, despite Bong-gil’s condition worsening. Young-gun and Hwarim knew Sang-desk was taking a big risk going back to the burial site.

    They needed to distract the Anima long enough for Sang-deok to dig up the iron stake. Fortunately, Hwarim had a plan to divert Anima’s attention.

    Before starting, they had to be prepared for the worst. Hwarim noticed that Anima avoided the protective inscriptions on Bong-gil. So, they covered Bong-gil and themselves in those inscriptions.

    They headed to the burial site with Hwarim’s sisters guarding Bong-gil with a chicken ready for sacrifice. Hwarim managed to distract the Anima initially, but they couldn’t find the iron stake.

    Hwarim talks to her grandmother’s spirit like she’s there, hinting that her grandma might have been a powerful shaman too. When the Anima threatens Hwarim’s life, the protective inscription and her grandma’s spirit hold him back.

    But why does the inscription work on the Anima? Pay attention to what he says to Hwarim. The Anima was once a Japanese samurai who feared Buddhist inscriptions.

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    The Ending

    The ending of “Exhuma” leaves Sang-deok puzzled as he fails to uncover any iron stake in the grave. This uncertainty stems from his lack of clarity about what exactly he’s supposed to be looking for.

    Gisune’s meticulousness shines through in his selection of the iron stake’s location, considering it a matter of utmost importance for all of Korea.

    Instead of opting for a conventional stake, he opts for a Japanese samurai with a formidable reputation for defeating 10,000 soldiers, transforming it into a vessel for a unique katana.

    This blazing iron katana is then implanted within the samurai, giving rise to what they refer to as the Anima.

    As the Anima is meant to serve as the iron stake for this particular location, the coffin is laid to rest as if it were piercing deep into the earth.

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    What is “Exhuma” About?

    “Exhuma” is a South Korean horror-thriller film directed by Jae-hyun Jang. It delves into the complexities of Korean folklore and traditions, intertwining them with modern-day struggles and supernatural elements.

    Who Directed “Exhuma”?

    “Exhuma” was directed by Jae-hyun Jang, known for his work in the horror genre and his ability to blend cultural elements into his storytelling.

    When Was “Exhuma” Released?

    “Exhuma” was released on 3 May 2024

    Where Does the Story of “Exhuma” Take Place?

    The story of “Exhuma” unfolds primarily in South Korea, with various settings ranging from urban areas to remote mountainsides, each contributing to the film’s eerie atmosphere.

    Why Is the Film Titled “Exhuma”?

    The title “Exhuma” likely references the act of exhumation, which plays a significant role in the film’s plot as characters delve into buried secrets and unearth dark forces from the past.

    How Would You Describe the Genre of “Exhuma”?

    “Exhuma” can be categorized as a horror-thriller, combining elements of supernatural horror with suspenseful storytelling and psychological tension.

    Who Are the Main Characters in “Exhuma”?

    The main characters in “Exhuma” include Park Ji-yong, Hwarim, Bong-gil, Sang-deok, and other key figures who become entangled in the film’s mysterious events.

    What Themes Does “Exhuma” Explore?

    “Exhuma” explores themes of family curses, ancient folklore, the clash between tradition and modernity, and the consequences of past betrayals reverberating into the present.

    Is “Exhuma” Based on a True Story?

    No, “Exhuma” is not based on a true story. However, it draws inspiration from Korean folklore, history, and cultural beliefs to create its narrative.

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    Rohit Belakud
    Rohit Belakud
    Rohit Belakud, a Law Student turned web development virtuoso, serves as the Founder and CEO of Prime Quill. With over 7 years in the field, he excels in web design, WordPress, SEO, and digital marketing. His multifaceted skills extend to authorship, where he covers diverse topics including technology, entertainment, and sports. Rohit's leadership blends legal insight with digital innovation, driving Prime Quill to new heights. A meticulous professional, he crafts compelling narratives that resonate globally, exemplifying the nexus of creativity and technology in the modern era.

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