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(Bulshinjiok / Living Death)
Sponsored by: Dusk Surnatural

Canadian Premiere

  • South Korea 2009
  • 112 min
  • 35mm
  • Korean with English subtitles
WINNER: Students Prize, Gérardmer International Fantastic Film Festival 2010
Official Selection, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010
Official Selection, Brussels International Fantastic Films Festival 2010
Official Selection, Imagine: Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival 2010



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“Not only one of the most interesting, but indeed one of the best Korean horrors for some time... Chilling” — James Mudge, BEYOND HOLLYWOOD


Director: Lee Young-soo
Screenplay: Lee Young-soo
Cast: Nam Sang-mi, Ryu Seung-ryong, Kim Bo-yeon, Shim Eun-gyeong, Mun Heui-gyeong
Producers: Jung Seung-hye, Cho Chul-hyun
Print Source: Showbox/Mediaplex

Part of...

Between Death and the Devil   

Between Death and the Devil

Part of...

Korean Cinema   

Korean Cinema



Hee-jin (Nam Sang-mi), a student with too little free time, follows her overloaded routine in Seoul. During a brief sleep one night, a strange dream grabs hold of her thoughts—her little sister So-jin (Shim Eun-gyeong) telephones her in the middle of the night, asking her if everything is alright, when the connection is suddenly severed. Early the following morning, the girls’ mother calls Hee-jin to inform her of the disappearance of her sister, the reclusive survivor of the tragic accident that took the life of their father a few years before. Curious and worried, Hee-jin meets with her mother, who tells her about how she came home to find that So-jin simply wasn’t there and that she hasn’t heard any news from her since. While Hee-jin suggests bringing the case to the police, her excessively religious mother insists that only prayer can bring So-jin back to them. Despite these strong feelings, Hee-jin seeks help from detective Tae-hwan (Ryu Seung-ryong), who believes So-jin has simply run away. However, a variety of strange events keep happening in the mother’s apartment tower, where several tenants are found dead, apparently victims of grisly suicides, and where all the evidence inevitably leads back to So-jin’s mysterious case. Meanwhile, Hee-jin’s nightmares and hallucinations are continually escalating as the revelations relating to the days leading to So-jin’s disappearance become more and more troubling—very much like the investigation as it seeps deeper and deeper into darkness.

Lee Young-soo’s debut feature POSSESSED is striking from the start, with a surprisingly controlled direction, immediately setting up a disquieting mood that never loosens its grip. Led by a new talented filmmaker who learned the craft hands-on by working with Bong Joon-ho on MEMORIES OF MURDER, this project arrives like a fresh gust of wind across the South Korean horror scene, instantly infusing hope and maturity into a genre that was believed to be at death’s door. Every player gives a worthy performance, with Nam front and centre as the guide through this oppressive atmosphere where mysteries, apparitions and religious excess intertwine. More than surprising images, the sound treatment of this small gem is noteworthy for its extreme precision in creating a palpable apprehension, succeeding marvellously in gnawing at the audience’s last nerve. Terror is invited to the party and rest assured, you’ll have a hard time shaking the shakes brought on by many of the arresting moments in this new variation of horror film.

—Patrick Lambert (translated by Guillaume Desbiens)

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