“Revenant” is a Korean drama series, released in 2023, with 12 episodes and is currently streaming on Disney+.
If you get possessed by an unseen evil spirit, it helps to know someone who can see them.
♦ Uh oh! You Opened the Door and the Ghosts Entered
“Revenant” begins with a subtle warning and a safety precaution. Doors are the passageways that connect both worlds. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, be careful when you open a door.
Gu Gangmo should not have opened the door. His mother found him hanging and his death looked like a suicide. Gu San-Yeong is the dead man’s daughter. She thought her father died when she was 5 years old. She has a memory of him reading her “The Story of Janghwa and Hongryeon” and telling her that “ghosts are real”.
Later, as an adult woman, she learns that her mother lied. This time her father has died and they need to go pay their respects. She meets her grandmother who gives her a hair ornament that her father wanted her to have. The mother refused and told her daughter not to take anything from her father’s house.
It was a keepsake and even though San-Yeong did not agree, she left the hair ornament behind. However, she had touched it very briefly, and in that moment she saw a little girl from the Joseon Era.
♦ Everyone Did Not Dismiss Gu Gangmo’s Thesis ABout Ghosts
Gu Gangmo was a Korean folklore professor who wrote a thesis about “real ghosts”. It was dismissed by the academic world and practically everyone else as “questionable” or rather … outrageous! But he believed! He believed so much that he wrote a letter to a fellow Korean folklore professor Yeom Hae-Sang, asking him to look after his daughter if anything bad happened to him.
His unexpected death by suicide could be considered “bad”.
Yeom Hae-Sang was also a believer. He believed his mother’s death was caused by an evil spirit and had already spent years trying to find out the truth. When Gu Gangmo allegedly committed suicide, Yeom Hae-Sang searched for his daughter.
Once he found San-Yeong, he told her that a ghost, a dangerous evil spirit, had latched on to her. How did he know? He could see the ghost. Gu San-Yeong reacted by telling him that she was a non-believer and would like for him to leave her alone.
He could not force her to believe. But he did let her know that people around were going to die. If they were people she felt had wronged her, they would die. The ghost feeds off human desires. The more a person desires, the more powerful the evil spirit becomes.
♦ OK! Now I’m a Believer
San-Yeong, her mother, and many others were victims of a voice-phishing scam. The culprit was captured but their money was not returned. To add insult to injury, the culprit was released from prison due to lack of evidence. The culprit died! But first, he went up on a rooftop and threw money into the streets. His death looked like a suicide.
The police detective said the culprit’s death was suspicious. Even though there is a video of the man hanging himself, San-Yeong’s fingerprints are on pieces of evidence; but San-Yeong does not appear in the video. Also, the police can not prove that she was even at the scene of the suicide.
First, there was the culprit’s death. Then another person San-Yeong had come into contact with also died. She begins to believe that ghosts are real. If they are, then what was she supposed to do?
Hae-Sang told her that she needed to communicate with the ghosts, find out why they were lingering in this world, and help them cross over to the other world. But how? She can’t see ghosts.
San-Yeong can’t see ghosts. But Hae-Sang does see them. The professor wants to help her because he is hoping he can find out the truth behind his mother’s death. So they agree to work together.
- Gu San-Yeong (played by Kim Tae-Ri, “Space Sweepers”, “Mr. Sunshine”)
- Yeom Hae-Sang (played by Oh Jung-Se, “Swing Kids”, “Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency”)
Viewership and Rating:
- IMDb Rating: 7.9 out of 10 stars
- My Drama List: 8.7 out of 10 stars
- NME: 4 out of 5 stars
My personal rating lines up with NME. Award-winning South Korean actors Kim Tae-Ri and Oh Jung-Se were chosen to star in this Disney Plus occult mystery thriller series “Revenant”. They did not disappoint, and neither did the supporting cast. Episode 1 laid the groundwork for an engrossing supernatural suspense thriller. There was no way the viewer wasn’t going to watch the remaining episodes.
Disney+ decided to start investing in Korean drama movies and series in 2021. As of 2023, the streaming content for its K-drama category is growing steadily and top-quality entertainment like “Revenant” is being added.
LINKS OF INTEREST:
- Don’t Sleep on ‘Revenant,’ a Masterful K-Horror Series on Disney+ | The Rolling Stone
- ‘Revenant’ review – a thrilling, immersive horror K-drama | NME
- Disney Plus Korean Drama 2023: Best K-Dramas To Watch via Streaming Right Now | comingsoon.net
Korean Folklore Mentioned in ‘Revenant’:
“The Story of Janghwa and Hongryeon” which Gu Gangmo read to his daughter is a popular Korean folktale. Two sisters died an unfortunate death because of their stepmother’s abuse. They return as ghosts seeking revenge and wanting justice. This folktale has been adapted into film several times. Most notably:
- Lee Yu-seob directed a film that was released in 1972; and
- Kim Jee-woon directed a 2003 film, A Tale of Two Sisters, using the story as a basis.
Disney Plus Singapore. “Revenant | Teaser Trailer | Disney+ Singapore.” YouTube Video. YouTube, June 16, 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuEiPKmv6qs.