Korean Movie Review – Ghost Sweepers (점쟁이들)

Comedy/Horror

Directed by Shin Jeong-won

The majority of Korean films I have seen recently have all started out with interesting premises and gave the impression that they would be thought-provoking dramas, only for the film to turn into some kind of farce. It’s not that I mind slapstick humor; I just I wish I could watch a film that knew what it wanted to be and had some focus.

For example, recently I couldn’t work out if one particular film I was watching was supposed to be a serious drama about domestic abuse or a slapstick comedy. So what a relief it was to see “Ghost Sweepers,” a film about the best exorcists in Korea who head to the tiny village of Uljinri to try and expel a ghost causing havoc to the majority of its villagers.

The exorcists are joined by Chan-young, a young newspaper journalist who is recruited to report on the story.

After the initial ceremony involving many of the exorcists goes horribly wrong, only five remain: Mr. Park, who is the most famous and something of a celebrity; Monk Shim-in, who studied with Mr. Park but whose fortunes have differed greatly; relative newcomer Suk-hyun, who uses technology to help him ghost hunt; a young boy named Wol-kwang from Jeonju, who can see into the future; and Seung-hee, who can see the memories of any item she touches. Chan-young and the surviving exorcists work together to uncover the dark secrets of the island.

At one point I half expected one of the fortunetellers to rip a mask off the monster’s face as a human inside proclaimed, “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you pesky kids!” Needless to say, the threat is real, which I rather enjoyed, and the film leads to a final battle between our remaining exorcists and the ghoulish specter inhabiting the village.

Surprisingly enough, “Ghost Sweepers” is a pretty enjoyable film. The film plays like a cross between “The Exorcist” (1973) and “Ghostbusters” (1984). As you might expect, the film focuses more on humor than it does the scares, but that’s fine, as it never tries to be anything other than an entertaining film. So often a film starts out as a horror movie only to descend into farce. The film sets its intentions out early and sticks to them, successfully.

“Ghost Sweepers” might not set the world alight, but it’s enjoyable enough and a solid recommendation for Korean film enthusiasts looking for an interesting addition to the horror genre.

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Categories: Reviews

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