The Medium – Review

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The Medium is terrible not because of jump scares, trance scenes, apparitions, or other things that can be seen by the eye. The Medium is terrible because of the sense of helplessness it creates. That we humans are so weak and fragile. Especially when faith begins to crumble. Top Movie Site

Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, and scripted by Na Hong-jin (director of The Chaser, The Yellow Sea, The Wailing, as well as producer) and Chantavit Dhanasevi (screenwriter of Banjong’s films since Phobia), The Medium takes a mockumentary format, at where a group of documentaries are compiling a story about shamanic practices in Thailand.

They record the daily life of Nim (Sawanee Utoomma), a shaman from Isan, whose body is possessed by a spirit named Bayan, giving him various abilities, including medicine. Nim is an interesting figure. He is not as eccentric as caricatures of shamans in fictional media, his demeanor is relaxed, but looks solid. Plus the natural acting of the actress, her figure is believable. “If a cancer patient comes to me…he will surely die”, he joked while suggesting that he should go to the doctor if he suffers from a “normal disease”.

The team also follows Nim as he attends the funeral of his older sister’s husband, Noi (Sirani Yankittikan), and that’s when things start to get weird on camera. The oddity concerns Ming (Narilya Gulmongkolpech), Noi’s daughter, who lately has often been emotionally explosive, talks to herself, and acts like a child. Following next is Nim’s investigation which I will not reveal in detail.

The Medium moves quite slowly. Don’t expect to be immediately treated to gripping terror, because until the middle of the duration, the story is closer to a supernatural drama than pure horror. At first glance, it sounds like a typical mockumentary approach, which is minimalistic at the start before throwing everything away at the end. But The Medium does it not to save money, but as a way of explaining the process. Best Movie

What process? Lots. Whether it’s Ming’s “trance stage”, as well as the inner turmoil of the character, who is experiencing a crisis of faith. Does God or God really exist? If so, will praying to Him definitely help us? If not, who should we ask for help? The character is haunted by a mysterious entity (evil spirit), while relying on an entity whose existence is no less gray (God). That uncertainty is scary.

The Medium provides itself with strong stories and interesting mysteries. Rather than being afraid, I’d rather be made to “know”. Plus, the script is good at composing dynamics. It’s no exaggeration to call it one of the best mockumentaries in terms of intensity building. This film is like a ladder that takes the audience step by step and continues to climb to the top. Again, process.

Slowly but surely, the quantity of terror is increasing. From Ming’s strange condition, then began to involve disturbing scenes such as animal abuse, child abuse, then finally all-out at the climax. Towards the final round, The Medium had time to use the Paranormal Activity-style format, where Banjong proved his capacity to compose tense situations. Even more gripping than the third act, which in addition to scrolling a bit too long so as to reduce the shock effect, also tends to be generic compared to other parts (although Narilya’s totality deserves praise).

Let’s go back to the process. It’s true that The Medium still has moments of conventional horror, but the greatest horror comes from the comparisons that emerge between the beginning and the end. Regarding the destruction of something that previously seemed solid due to being controlled by uncertainty, which then gave birth to helplessness. Movie Review

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