The 8th Night, a South Korean horror-thriller film released on Netflix, is about a millennia-old spirit who wants to unleash hell on Earth. It is not the first South Korean thriller released on the streaming giant. Lee Chung-hyeon’s The Call gained a lot of success in this genre, and after watching it we wanted some more films like this. We are glad that Netflix delivered us another masterpiece by releasing The 8th Night.
The film starts with a legendary tale about a monster who tries to unleash hell on Earth by sacrificing a human but is stopped by Buddha. Though unable to kill him, Buddha hides the eyes of the monster, one red and one black, far away from each other in sarira caskets. He leaves his two disciples with the task to make sure that the two eyes never meet. The tale says that the monster will use seven stepping stones (meaning that it will kill seven people) to unite the two eyes.
Mind-blowing Mythical References
The story is narrated in Sanskrit, which is something we have never seen before in an international horror film. Director of The 8th Night Kim Tae-hyoung has used many references from Hindu mythology to sew together a masterpiece with intricate details. As the story continues, we are brought to the present where a professor who was once an exorcist opens the casket in which the red-eye was hidden. This starts the seven days journey for the monster to get to the either and final day before he turns Earth into a living hell.
Buddhist monks living in South Korea become aware of their monstrosity. The protector of the other casket asks the monk Chung-seok played Nam Da-reum to find Park Jin-soo played by Lee Sung-min. Park Jin-soo is the chosen one who was born to stop the horror from happening. With prayer beads in one hand and an ax in the other, Park Jin-soo sets out to stop the monster along with Chung-seok. While watching it, you might think that the story of The 8th Night will be straightforward. The monks will stop the monster with some prayer and teachings, there will be some blood, but ultimately good will triumph over evil.
The only thing that is true out of all this is the last part. Good always wins over evil. However, The 8th Night does not have that simple of a story. As we move forward with the film, we are introduced to plot twists and complexities which only makes the story even better. The music score, screenplay and cinematography make The 8th Night one of the best occult-horror films ever made. The acting of every member of the cast is exceptional. The dialogue delivery, the expressions, especially of those possessed by the monster are mindblowing.
A Dark and Detailed Story
The 8th Night has used a lot of references to Hindu mythology. The third eye that appears on those possessed makes them look like Lord Shiva. This indicates that the monster is Shiva, the god of destruction and maybe the people he possesses, are his avatars. This is just one understanding of the story. You can see the use of ‘Om’ time and again. Even in Buddhism, the word is chanted, and the symbol corresponds to your third eye and helps us to connect with our divine self.
The 8th Night has a wonderful backstory about our hero, which is a cherry on the top of an already amazing film. There are many other tiny details that you will appreciate when you watch the film. Kim Tae-hyoung made sure to develop the details of each and everything with absolute care. We are told that the Black Eye represents anxiety, and the Red Eye represent agony. When these two eyes unite, it creates a world of eternal anger and despair. Even the title of the film has a meaning. It signifies that we have a limited time on Earth on the surface but when you turn it around, it means an infinite hell.
The 8th Night is not your typical horror movie. Clearly, a lot of thinking and focus on detail has gone into the story, which has come out perfectly. You should definitely watch The 8th Night, even if you are not a fan of horror.
You can watch The 8th Night on Netflix.