» » Geomeun sajedeul (2015)

Short summary

Two priests have to find out if a young girl was attacked by an evil spirit or human molester in order to save her life.
The young girl Young-shin seems to be possessed by demon and Father Kim and Deacon Choi are about to investigate the case. But to save the life of Young-shin, the have to find out if the girl is truly possessed or maybe the victim of a human force. Or in the worst case both.

Trailers "Geomeun sajedeul (2015)"

Kim Yun-Seok & Gang Dong-Won previously worked together in 2009 film "Woochi."

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Yar
    You wouldn't normally expect to see a full-blown exorcism in a South Korean movie, so consider us intrigued when we first heard of writer/ director Jang Jae-hyun's 'The Priests'. True enough, Jang's film is the first of its kind to dabble in the 'occult', a genre typically associated with Western cinema for both cultural and historical reasons. Digging deep into Roman Catholic theology to deliver a largely accurate depiction of the oft-misunderstood ritual, Jang delivers a tense and frequently edge-of-your-seat gripping portrait of the eternal fight between light and darkness, a theme which he also similarly explored in his award-winning 2014 short '12th Assistant Deacon'.

    As in that short, the key protagonists are a renegade priest Father Kim (Kim Yun-seok) and a priest-in-training Deacon Choi (Gang Dong- won), who team up to save a young girl Young-shin (Park So-dam) that begins to exhibit one of the twelve manifestations of evil tracked by the Rosicrucrianism after a hit-and-run accident. Young-shin was a member of Father Kim's congregation when he was a priest of a church in the countryside, and it is partly their history that compels him to take matters into his own hands when the other members of his flock disapprove of his intentions to conduct an exorcism for Young-shin for fear of spooking the public.

    It is hardly the first time that Kim is playing the role of the rebellious, tough-talking veteran, and he does it here with aplomb. He expresses with keenness not only the toll that Father Kim's fight with the demon inside Young-shin has taken on him, but also the conviction of his character's faith in the power of God over evil that gives him the strength to press on. Yet the film belongs as much to Father Kim as it does to Deacon Choi, a fresh-eyed ingénue who is plucked out of theology school to assist Father Kim while acting as spy for the larger Catholic fraternity to keep an eye on their wayward brethren - and unlike Father Kim, his motivation is less to save a life than to save himself from a life of studying in the seminary.

    Needless to say, Deacon Choi soon finds himself way out of his depth as he is confronted with the very definition of evil, but there is more to Choi than just his naivety; indeed, Choi remains haunted to this day by the guilt of a traumatic childhood accident where he failed to save his sister from being bitten to death by a ferocious dog. It is this frailty that the demon will exploit to taunt and scare him in the midst of the rite of exorcism, and Gang embodies his character's transformation from fear to temerity with wide-eyed wonder and tenacity. His character is intended as Father Kim's complement as well as a passing-of-the-baton from veteran to rookie, and Gang shares an engaging dynamic with Kim in their scenes together.

    Rather than contrive to take his audiences through a protracted story of Father Kim's battle with the demon within Young-shin, Jang opts for a much simpler narrative that places its emphasis on authenticity. Pretty much most of the first half is set-up for an elaborate display of the ritual in the second half, which takes place over the course of one full-moon night in a dingy top-floor apartment located at the heart of the bustling Myeong-dong district. Nonetheless, the first hour remains a riveting watch, constructed with scenes to underscore the peril that Father Kim and Deacon Choi will soon find themselves in. The procedure itself in its full extended glory is also more than worth the wait, packed with moments of sheer terror as the duo attempt to draw the evil spirit to reveal its name while overcoming their own personal demons.

    For being the first of its kind, Jang deserves even more credit for successfully demonstrating how to 'localise' a genre that has never been associated with K-cinema or K-horror for that matter. Despite being his feature filmmaking debut, Jang exhibits a strong grasp of mise-en-scene, especially with the contrast of light and dark in the film's visuals. Jang's choice to film his movie on location in busy neighbourhoods and districts in Seoul, Anyang and Daegu also gives it a strong sense of place, and a particularly nice touch in that regard is the depiction of a traditional Korean shamanistic ritual right before the rite of exorcism. Oh yes, 'The Priests' is terrifying all right, bolstered in part by its heightened sense of realism, and besides being a bold new entry into a subject matter yet unexplored in that context, it is a perfectly worthy addition to the genre in its own right.
  • comment
    • Author: Kigabar
    Normally eastern horror movies would dabble in traditional myth or folklore, for example the haunting of girl with white dress and long hair which plagues Japan, China and even Indonesia. It's a pleasant surprise that a Korean movie tries to incorporate possession and religious tone into this genre. By maintaining respect from the original source and using it in unique atmosphere, this is a commendable as well as a successful excursion to other side of horror.

    A young deacon (Dong-won Kang) is called to assist Father Kim (Yun-seok Kim) in the exorcism of a young high school girl. Both men have no connection before, and their personalities are too far apart. This is not the usual mentor and student relationship, the older Father is weary and brash which makes him a contrasting character to the young deacon. However, necessity ensures that they have to work together.

    The first act is admittedly rather slow, it gives a nice look of the priests' lives and appreciated details about possession. However, this tends to stall a bit as the movie strolls through some subplots that are not necessarily crucial to the story. It ramps up significantly as the two priests walk closer towards possessed girl, at this point visual dims to portray dark premonition against the bright light of modern city.

    This is suspense build up and showcase of exorcism done right. Its unusual oriental vibe works in the movie's favor by clashing the cultures together. Details like traditional rituals, tight apartments and occasional bleak view on metropolis splendidly set up the ambiance. The cinematography used is extremely chilling and engaging, viewing the struggle in creepy close encounter. This rings especially true when they face the malicious entity.

    At its peak this is one of the most eerie displays of the genre. The exorcism in the east uses enigmatic theme and unorthodox setting to conjure novelty and gripping terror.
  • comment
    • Author: Siralune
    When I saw that there was an exorcism-themed movie out from South Korea, I was more than hooked. I didn't know who had directed it or even who starred in it. I do like Asian cinema quite a lot, and South Korean movies tend to be quite good.

    And such was also the case with "The Priests" (aka "Geomeun sajedeul"). While it does have a story that has been seen countless of times before in other similar movies, then director Jae-Hyun Jang still managed to keep the movie interesting and entertaining.

    Little needs to be said about the story here; a young girl is possessed by a demonic entity, and it is up to two priests to perform an exorcism, banish the demonic entity and thus saving the life of the young girl.

    It is the way that the movie is built up that works quite well, because we get to discover things about the priests along the way, showing that they are but humans as well, and then slowly, but surely, director Jae-Hyun Jang guides the audience towards the exorcism itself.

    It strikes me as a movie that didn't have the biggest of budgets, but still they managed to utilize everything to the fullest potential and come up with a rather impressive and entertaining movie nonetheless.

    And while the movie is not boasting a myriad of CGI and special effects that would put Hollywood to shame, the special effects crew did manage to make the necessary effects seem good and come off as being realistic. A feat which really added depth to the movie.

    The acting in the movie was good as well. Although I can't really claim to be familiar with the talents who were acting in this 2015 movie.

    While "The Priests" is not a groundbreaking movie to make it out of South Korea, it is still an entertaining movie that is well-worth watching. My rating of "The Priests" is a solid six out of ten stars easily.
  • comment
    • Author: Unnis
    Every movie that has exorcisms in it, has the "problem" that it will be compared with The Exorcist. There's no way around it, but if you can try to keep an open mind. I don't know if this is actually the very first South Korean exorcism film or not. What I do know though, is the quality is very high.

    The acting, the set up and the scenes are very powerful. This can stand on its own, which is quite impressive. The horror that you get is quite impressive, especially if you consider that we have seen a lot of movies trying this. Cinematography and script are really good and I can recommend this, if you like horror movies
  • comment
    • Author: tamada
    If you look at the IMDb page for "The Priests", you'll find that the summary really isn't what this film is about at all. Ignore it! Instead, the film is an interesting combination of Western films exorcism films combined with Eastern sensibilities. This combination is an interesting one and the movie by Jae-hyun Jang is well worth your time.

    When the film begins, a young Catholic priest in South Korea is trying to exorcise a demon from a young girl. However, soon something expected occurs and the girl dives from her hospital window. Despite the horrible fall, she is still alive and is in a coma where she remains off and on for years---all the while the demon remains trapped within her. The priest makes it his life's work to rid her of the demon but he is so far unsuccessful. As for his assistants, they all end up leaving the case...unable to cope with the horrible fight against evil. Soon, assistant number 11 is assigned to help. Can he manage to sum up the internal strength and together they rid the world of this evil? And, once the demon leaves the girl, what exactly are they to do with it?! That is a problem they really forgot to plan for in "The Exorcist"!

    As I just mentioned the film, at times, "The Priests" clearly feels like "The Exorcist". Fortunately, it is not some cheap Korean copy or reworking of the Hollywood picture and differs in many, many ways. Because it's an Asian film, it integrates quite a bit of Eastern religion and mysticism as well. You'll see shamans, salt used for purification and many other non- Western elements within the film. You also have some amazing special effects as well as an ending that is nothing like the more familiar Hollywood version. Additionally, the story works very well and it will keep you on the edge of your seat! Plus, the ending really is awfully intelligent and offers an excellent pay-off. Well worth seeing and I look forward to more films from Jae-hyun Jang.
  • comment
    • Author: Wrathshaper
    This was actually really scary at times, and later quite disturbing as the possession intensified. I did find it a bit slow moving somewhere around the mid point, but it was still interesting, though. The ending is awesome! It gets really exciting with a possessed pig, police chase, cars crashing left, right and center, and a priest running out of time. Wow!
  • comment
    • Author: Framokay
    Exorcism movies are far too common in the film industry. With rather rigid formulas to evoke horror and uninspired screenwriting and directing, even something recent like 'The Possession of Hannah Grace' that comes with a new premise, could not trespass the overused pattern. However, The Priests shows possibility that an exorcism movie may still have a bright future.

    Between his controversies, an exorcist and his new assistant, a deacon with a trauma, must perform an exorcism to a girl who in her edge of physical endurance, along with deadly terror that brings upon them.

    The short premise may sound too familiar to us. The ambiance of horror and dialogues between priests, also quite known already in this kind of movie. However, what's different is how the movie narrates with the deacon's perspective. With light nuance in the beginning, The Priests gives new perspective, comedy and drama, which never quite well delivered in my exorcism-movies experience. Rather than being flat and boring, this attempt makes the buildups to the climax (the exorcism scene, of course), becomes more suspenseful and interesting. I am surprised this movie can pulled this off, since this formula is quite overused in Korean films I watch so far, but somehow it's different.

    What's also makes this movie more interesting, is how the movie humanize the priests not over the top. Sometimes, the priests in many movies deal with faith problem, and we have the realization moment. This movie, while quite following similar pattern, also depicts the imperfectness and goofiness in the men who serve for the church. The rapport not makes me overly emotionally invested, but it's good enough to makes me stay interested.

    The next good thing, sometimes you will listen many exorcism scenes do anything with various languages spells and so on without any explanation, but this movie gives more background to the exorcism and what is the nature of the devil. It gives more sense of depth to the movie, and I like it a lot. The appearance of a traditional Korean shaman also spices up the movie, bringing sense of reality that in the dangerous time, it is not uncommon to try different methods to overcome evil. This particular thing, is not explored well in Western movies that often portray the exorcism in only certain way.

    While all's been very positive to me, I am not a fan of many clichés that happen throughout the movie (really, I've seen three Korean movies today and they all have car accident scenes) and how the exorcism scene feels quite dry rather than a blast to pay the buildups. I highly recommend this movie for those who longing for a good exorcism film, with drama plot added. It's not full of twist, but shows us that in doubt of this kind of movie, with right formula and plot, even your standard exorcism movie plot can be a gem.
  • comment
    • Author: Raniconne
    This movie was a pleasant surprise.

    The story is intricate and seems to be well researched. Although I do not know the ins and outs of the exorcism ritual, this film presents a more complicated and seemingly authentic process than most of the Hollywood exorcism films.

    It portrays the bureaucracy of the Catholic Church but not in a biased or unnecessarily critical way. It respects the local Eastern Shamanism and never makes fun of it. It showed that it was ineffective in this particular case not because the shaman is a mere charlatan but because the demonic power was strong and only the power of God can dispel it. For example, while respectfully waiting for the shaman to finish, the priest told his assistant that normally the particular shaman was very good.

    The priests in the film are not irreproachable. While trying to save the possessed, they have to wrestle their own inner demons. However, even the older and jaded priest demonstrates none of exaggerated bitterness and cynicism of a Hollywood priest. He gives due to all parties including the possessed.

    The film is not perfect but it is well thought out and it keeps you on edge. It also skip the gimmick of denying you resolution like many Hollywood horror film. When will they learn that the audiences don't have to see that the demons are still lurking around at the end of the movie to pave the way for a sequel? Tricks as such just leave the viewers unsatisfied.
  • comment
    • Author: Wire
    Father Kim has been conducting exorcisms in Seoul, no pun intended. He has gone through a number of assistants and they are down to candidates from seminary school. Deacon Choi has been asked to be the next one, having a loose list of qualifications, one is being born in the year of the tiger. There was also been a question of molestation and in addition to assisting Kim, he also must spy on him.

    While this is a serious exorcism film, it does have many light moments. The dialogue was good, in spite of the English dubbing. The Korean culture comes through as we see a shaman with an ox head strapped to his back attempt an exorcism. In one scene as they prepare for an exorcism and take communion, Father Kim quips to Choi that he could have bought a better wine. It was that type of humor that was in much of the feature. I don't believe this is an "everyone" film due to the dubbing and length, as some may find it difficult to sit through.

    No swearing, sex, or nudity. There is a Korean option with English subtitles, or just plain English, with the opening monologue still being in Korean with English subtitles.
  • comment
    • Author: Nettale
    By now you seen one exorcism you seen them all, right?

    The Priests tells the tale of a little girl processed by a old demon that needs two holy men to drive it out. The process is so standard, it comes off as cheesy. They use all the clichés of exorcisms to try to creep you out but it all comes out very dull.

    the most interesting parts are when the Koreans add some of their own culture into the Catholic religion in order to perform demon hunting, like the fact that one of the priest had to be born in the year of the tiger in order to battle this particular demon.

    The Priests also had a strange buddy cop element to it with a seasoned Priest who seen everything twice and his hard attitude expresses it, is force to team up with a young rookie Priest who has not even finished his studies. Although, this element of the movie seems to be used only to pass time and is not that appealing

    It was interesting to see Korea's take on the process of possession, but not interesting enough to support a whole film.
  • Credited cast:
    Yoon-Seok Kim Yoon-Seok Kim - Father Kim
    Dong-won Gang Dong-won Gang - Deacon Choi
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Byeong-ok Kim Byeong-ok Kim - Professor Park
    Eui-sung Kim Eui-sung Kim - Dean
    Ho-jae Lee Ho-jae Lee - Father Jeong
    So-dam Park So-dam Park - Young-shin
    Jong-hak Son Jong-hak Son
    Jo Soo-Hyang Jo Soo-Hyang - Agnes
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