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Mystery drama ‘The Cursed’ hits the big screen

(From left) Actors Oh Yoon-ah, Jung Ji-so, Uhm Ji-won, Kwon Hae-hyo, director Kim Yong-Wan and writer Yeon Sang-ho pose for a photo after an online press conference held on Tuesday. (CJ ENM)
(From left) Actors Oh Yoon-ah, Jung Ji-so, Uhm Ji-won, Kwon Hae-hyo, director Kim Yong-Wan and writer Yeon Sang-ho pose for a photo after an online press conference held on Tuesday. (CJ ENM)

Popular mystery drama “The Cursed” has made its way to the big screen in a feature film adaption of the tvN series that aired from January to March last year.

Yeon Sang-ho, who is widely known for directing multiple zombie films including “Train to Busan” and “Peninsula,” wrote the script for the movie version, “The Cursed: Dead Man’s Prey,” which is being directed by Kim Yong-Wan.

“The drama was a thriller that featured mysterious stories related to Korean shamanism. The movie also falls into the mystery genre, but it introduces a new existence called ’jaechaui,‘” Yeon said during an online press conference held on Tuesday.

In the new movie, reporter Jung Ji-so (played by Uhm Ji-won) receives a mysterious call while on a live radio program. The caller warns Ji-so about a serial murder that will take place. After the call, a serial murder case arises involving jaechaui, or corpses that can walk and talk like humans.

“Jaechaui means ’it exists here.‘ They are dead bodies that are controlled by a mysterious being. It appears in Yongjaechonghwa. It is a type of monster from Korean traditional folktales,“ Yeon said.

Yongjaechonghwa is a collection of miscellaneous writings by Seong Hyeon from the Joseon era.

“According to the folktale, jaechaui’s hands and feet are black and cold. They are different from zombies who chase people because of their hunger. Jaechaui are moved on command by a spell. They reflect the purpose of whoever is controlling them,” director Kim said.

Kim elaborated on the unique features of jaechaui.

“Also, it is difficult to distinguish them just by their appearance. Sometimes it even looks like they are thinking,” the director said.

The film even includes car chase scenes featuring jaechaui driving.

”I don’t think we have ever seen zombies drive like that. They all drive the same colored cabs in the movie’s car chase scene,“ Kim added.

He added that Jeon Young, a choreographer who created the iconic zombie movements for the Netflix original “Kingdom” and zombie movie “Train to Busan” also created the movements for jaechaui in the film.

Actor Uhm said it was difficult to stay calm in front of the actors playing jaechaui.

“When I saw the jaechaui rehearsal I was scared. They were really intimidating, like well-trained soldiers,” Uhm said.

During the conference, actors Uhm and Jung Ji-so, who plays Baek So-jin, a girl with special power, spoke about how their characters changed for the movie.

“The movie features what happens to the characters three years later,” Uhm said. “Jin-hee has quit working at Junjin Ilbo and started her own media company during those three years.”

Uhm‘s character also changed internally as well.

“She became a little more cold-hearted and tenacious. At the same time, she also became more open to shamanism,” Uhm said.

Jung said that her character’s special power became stronger in the film in order to fight against the jaechaui.

“Baek disappeared for three years and she has been practicing getting rid of bad spirits. Through the process she upgraded herself,” Jung said.

“The Cursed: Dead Man’s Prey” will arrive in local theaters on July 28.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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