A brand new horror film is coming to Shudder and boy, do I have some thoughts on this one. The Medium has already won an award at the Bucheon International Film Festival 2021 for Best Feature Film. If you are wondering whether or not to give this movie a watch, stay tuned to this review for my thoughts.

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About The Medium 

The story of The Medium is set around Nim (Sawanee Utoomma), who is a shaman in the Isan area of Northern Thailand. She is a medium for the deity Ba Yan. A documentary team is following her around, learning about what it is like to be a shaman. This includes learning how the honor passes through the female descendants in this particular family and how Ba Yan chooses. Along the way, the team encounters Nim’s niece, Mink (Narilya Gulmongkolpech). Mink begins acting strangely and experiencing odd symptoms. The family believes she is in the process of inheriting shamanism, that Ba Yan has chosen her to be Nim’s successor. However, something is not right. Soon, what should have been a blessing, turns out to be something far more terrifying and sinister. Now, the whole village may be in danger.

The Medium made its debut in South Korea in Summer 2021. It currently stands as the sixth highest-grossing Korean film of the year. The story comes from award-winning South Korean writer and director Na Hong-Jin. This is Hong-Jin’s first film produced under his new banner, Northern Cross. The film is directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, the Thai director who gave the horror world Shutter.

Scene from The Medium

Photo Credit: AMC Networks

My Thoughts

Before I dive in here, I want to preface my review by saying that I love watching horror movies from around the world. I love seeing different interpretations of typical horror tropes and all of the subgenres. Because of this, I was super excited to watch The Medium. Unfortunately, this movie did not meet my expectations.

My biggest issue is that The Medium is too long for the story. In my opinion, the entire first half of the film could have been reduced to approximately 10, maybe 15 minutes. There were so many scenes that I felt were unnecessary and did not serve the plot in any way. To be honest, I was so bored throughout the first half of the film. I could have fallen asleep. Don’t get me wrong, many of the scenes were shot well. I just did not see a point behind them.

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Once the film got into the second half, things started to pick up a bit. More action occurred and the story finally began to develop. The more I got to see what was happening to Mink, the more I liked what I was watching. The shining star in this otherwise bland movie is Narilya Gulmongkolpech’s performance. She does a spectacular job portraying a possessed person. 

I actually enjoyed the final 15 or 20 minutes of The Medium. The kills are intense but believable and the story flows at a good pace. As for the ending, I was not disappointed by the way the story concluded. It seemed like an appropriate ending to me, although some people may disagree.

Unfortunately, The Medium‘s final moments were not enough for me to like the film as a whole. The movie is over two hours long, and I enjoyed maybe 20 minutes.

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More Thoughts

If you like your horror movies to have gore, this is not the film for you. When you reach that final stretch, there are a few good scenes with a bit of blood and guts. However, you have to wait through the entire rest of the movie. Even then, if gore is your thing, it is not worth the wait. I do not watch horror movies for the gore, but if there are going to be kill scenes, I like them to at least be hard-hitting. Also, I hate having to wait so long to get to the action, the meat of the story.

I get that there has to be some story building, but there is such a thing as too much “before.” I want action in a horror movie; I want the fear to build. The Medium did not give me that. I guess you could call this movie a “slow burn,” but I feel like it goes beyond even that.

Also, I want to mention a few trigger warnings…

Scene from The Medium

Photo Credit: AMC Networks

There is mention of suicide attempts. The scene does not show the actual attempt and it is quite short, but if that is a big trigger, be aware. Also, some people may have an issue watching scenes involving blood from menstruation. There are several in The Medium. While I feel this is no different than any other blood shown, someone may feel differently.

My final note is that the whole film is set around a documentary team filming all of the happenings, but around the middle, I feel like that detail was almost forgotten. The team seems to fade to the background and not even be present at times. Later, they appear again and are once again part of the story. For that one period, though, they just disappear.

The Medium – Conclusion

Will I watch The Medium again? No. Do I regret watching it? Also no. It was not to my taste, but that will not be the case for everyone. If you love horror movies about possession, watch it. If you enjoy a prolonged burn story, watch it. Also, if you are a horror lover and have a couple of hours to kill, watch it. My final verdict? I did not enjoy The Medium and will not be adding it to any must-watch lists. 

The Medium will be streaming exclusively on Shudder beginning on October 14. This includes the Shudder offering within the AMC+ buddle where it is available. Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think in the comments!

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