The Medium Trailer: The Director Of The Wailing Produces The Thai-Korean Horror Flick

New nightmare fuel just dropped. In a Hollywood Reporter exclusive, Shudder has dropped a new trailer for the formidable Thai/South Korean tag-teamed spiritual horror feature, "The Medium." Produced by Na Hong-jin, the mystic mind behind "The Wailing" and "The Chaser," "The Medium" is also directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, whose 2004 debut "Shutter" (co-directed with Parkpoom Wongpoom) has since been remade four times. 

"The Medium" enjoyed a warm reception at its South Korea's 2021 Bucheon International Film Festival premiere, earning it the event's best film award. It was released theatrically in South Korea in July, grabbing the sixth biggest theatrical total in the country this year at $7.3 million.

Based on an original story by Na, "The Medium" is "a horrifying story of a shaman's inheritance in the Isan region of Thailand." With a documentary film crew in tow, Thai shaman Nim (Sawanee Utoomma), returns to her homeland in the northeastern Isan region of Thailand, where her niece Mink (Narilya Gulmongkolpech) begins to display bizarre symptoms of a spiritual kind. It's thought that the shaman's gift of second sight has passed along to her — a changing of the guard certainly worthy of documenting, until Mink's behavior grows more alarming with each passing day.

Another teaser for "The Medium" was released by BFI, as the film is part of the 2021 line-up for the BFI London Film Festival. You can check that teaser out below.

The Medium Teaser

"The Medium" is a welcome offering to fans of Na's 2016 banger "The Wailing," which looks at shamanism and xenophobia through the lens of a subjugated region, where whatever invading force that dominated Korea at a given time would instill its religious beliefs upon the people (and so the film touches upon the country's connection with Confucianism, Christianity, and Buddhism among other faiths). As with "The Medium," "The Wailing" is seemingly about a series of strange occurrences that add up to something nasty and parasitic. 

Bad religion seems to be Na's bag, and this film marks his first effort as a producer alongside Pisanthanakun's Seoul-based banner Northern Cross, the Bangkok-based GDH 559, and Korean hitmaker Showbox (which has produced six of Korea's top ten blockbusters, including Bong Joon-ho's "The Host"). The highly underrated horror streaming service Shudder will drop the film on subscribers in North America, the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand on Oct. 14, 2021.

Sure, the trailer shows Mink suddenly behaving erratically, and sure, she does that uncanny grin that people do when their demon occupant is feeling saucy, but I wouldn't write "The Medium" off so quickly. The primary mistake folks will make is assuming that this will be a straightforward possession narrative. Not only do Pisanthanakun and Na have a penchant for narrative switcheroos, but it's no surprise that a shaman's body could be the site for a holy battle. The shamanic figure is, across ages and cultures and regions, seen as a conduit for the gods, demons, and spirits. 

In Korean culture, it's not uncommon for the role of shaman to be passed down among women practitioners, from mother to daughter or, perhaps, auntie to niece. And because shamanism is such an intermediary gig, it requires the practitioner to, at some point, invite and sustain contact with the divine — some shamanic gifts come directly from the acceptance of the spirit into the flesh. As such, the ground is fertile for horror to use the practice as its own conduit; a good storyteller will use the practice in the same way they'd use the template of a ghost story or vampire lore, to interrogate the real demons that plague us all.