It all starts with a murder which is unusual for several reasons. Forensic examinations reveal that the victim (an executive of a major chemical company) died as a result of exposure to a rare toxin present in some marine creatures. And said toxin seems to have an accelerated effect, killing the victim in a matter of minutes.
Although the strangest (and chilling) aspect of the matter resides in the identity of the murderer, who was found lifeless near his victim. Upon examining him and inquiring about his identity, they discover that he is a person who has been dead for several months. This leaves the authorities perplexed, who cannot find a rational explanation for what happened.
At the same time, Im Jin-hee (played by actress Uhm Ji-won), a journalist specialized in police investigations and with social commitment, and whose program is broadcast live on the internet, is promoting her most recent book in a show; her when she receives a strange call from a man who claims to be responsible for the bizarre murder, and she wants to appear on her next show where, in addition to confessing her crime, she wants to make an announcement. The reporter is puzzled as well as intrigued by such a strange request, but she decides to accept and meet with the mysterious subject in the place indicated by him, despite the opposition of Jung Sung-joon (Jung Moon-sung), a local police chief and her partner.
Finally, the mysterious meeting takes place, and the presumed culprit reveals how he carried out the strange murder using dark arts which allow him to “revive” and control the bodies of dead people. And he demands that the president of the powerful emporium where the victim worked sincerely and publicly apologize for certain reprehensible and immoral actions committed by his company. And he threatens that, if he doesn’t, in the following days he and two other top executives will be assassinated using the same method. The authorities try to arrest him, but discover that the alleged murderer is actually another “revived”.
This will be the beginning of an exhaustive investigation against the clock to, on the one hand, discover the true identity of the perpetrator of the crime and arrest him before completing what he has planned. And, on the other hand, to reveal the motives behind such horrendous actions, and the role played in it by those involved, which will lead them to reveal a story involving possessions, magic, and ancient rituals; but also unscrupulous exploitation of illegal immigrants, human rights violations, and dangerous and immoral scientific experiments.
In 2020, South Korean television broadcast for the first time Damn (The Cursed / bangbeob), a drama and suspense series in which supernatural themes were mixed with others related to corruption in high business and industrial spheres. This series has become very successful, especially after being released worldwide by the platform Netflix.
The Curse: Waking from the Dead (The Cursed: Dead Man’s Prey / Bangbeob: Jaechaui) is a film derived from said series where, in addition to maintaining the thematic premise of the original television show, some of its stellar characters are used, functioning as a kind of spin-off of it. However -and although certain situations present in the series are mentioned here-, it is not an essential requirement to have seen it to be able to delve into this narrative.
The multiple combination of elements in his script also extends to the variety of genres used to narrate it. As it happens with a good part of the current Korean cinematography, the story goes through the fields of drama, suspense, horror, fantastic and detective films, mixed here in a special cocktail that seeks to breathe life into a plot about companies of unscrupulous conduct, revenge and justice, spells and demons, the search for the truth at all costs, and various social commentaries.
However, unlike what happens with other films from that country, in the plot written by Yeon Sang-ho and directed by Kim Yong-wan (writer and director of the original series respectively), the multi-genre combination is perceived as somewhat uneven, especially with regard to its pacing: the story starts out strong, and offers a very intense first few minutes, to then lose dynamism and begin to stagnate. when he addresses the details of the investigation, or the interpersonal relationships of his characters, and later picks up speed again when action sequences and various confrontations come, and continues like this for almost two hours, which makes the narrative tiresome and dense at times
The Curse: Waking from the Dead It suffers from these and other defects such as a level of fantasy which rises to somewhat crazy levels, where the characters act and wield powers typical of a Marvel or DC superhero; or a production closer to television than to cinema, giving at times the impression of watching an extended episode of the series, or a bridge to something else. But nonetheless, it can be seen and works as mere escapist entertainment, which will mainly satisfy the fans of the series, and the compulsive and indiscriminate consumers of audiovisual products from South Korea.
Read more about our criticism in the Cut and Remain section