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Korean horror drama Revenant sees Ku San Young's life change when she receives a ghostly relic from her dead father and mysterious deaths begin to take place around her.

The devil is in the detail, so they say. Folklore is something that residents of their own land become unconsciously steeped in. Watching a show from another country requires picking up on these rules.

New Korean horror-drama show Revenant makes it plain that malevolent ghosts walk freely among its world. Watch out, they could be watching YOU.

To date Netflix has absolutely dominated the western market for streaming Korean imports, even to the point of commissioning several hits itself (Squid Game, anyone?).

If a western audience wants to watch a Korean show then there is a plethora on Netflix to choose from. Disney has clearly noticed at last that there is a potential goldmine of East Asian quality available, and thus it has heavily promoted Revenant as its new hit.

For shame then, that Revenant dispels its excellent premise due to languid pacing, lack of horror content, and a central wooden performance.

What Is Revenant About?

As all good horror shows should, it starts with a death.

The relentless hammering of a door scares Professor Gu (Jin Seon-kyu) despite a voice assuring him that everything is ok. Save to say, that he should not have opened that door.

Gu’s death is almost the first that estranged daughter San-yeong (Kim Tae-ri) hears of his life. Within his possessions left to her are a hair accessory, but touching this causes a ‘juvenile ghost’ to attach to San-yeong.

It feeds on granting her desires and killing her ‘enemies’, and can sometimes be seen in her shadow with snaking hair waving in all directions.

All great set up, right? San-yeong meets ‘folklore professor’ Yeom Hae-sang (Oh Jung-se) who explains that to cast out a ghost you need to learn its name, and why it lingers.

The format is there for a monster of the week style horror ghost investigation, with the larger mystery (why did Professor Gu leave a knowingly cursed object? What connection does Hae-sang have with the ghost attached to San-yeong?) wrapped around those plots. Sadly, it isn’t to be.

Oh Jung-se, as folklore professor Hae-sang, is one of the biggest flaws in Revenant. This kind of role needs a dynamic performance that encapsulates fear, tension, anger, shock, and all sorts of, well, emotions.

Unfortunately Jung-se slow steps through the series with such a uniform vaguely worried expression that he drains the intrigue out of all of his scenes.

Revenant Official Trailer

Is Revenant Worth Watching On Disney+?

Revenant inches slowly forward at a languid pace. Episodic stories that come and go are few and far between, and unsatisfying when they do show up.

‘Hungry ghosts’ that have an insatiable jealousy for possessions? Great! Oh, a glossed over death resolved with the theft of a handbag? Not so much.

No, the plot remains stuck like glue on Hae-sang and San-yeong, leaving more interesting characters – like the haggard cop investigating suspicious suicides – as mere paperwork hunting exposition fodder.

It's the wasted potential that haunts Revenant because some elements are thrilling. Despite her co-star staring at everything like it’s an eye-exam, Kim Tae-ri is superb. She thunders along with vibrancy as she tries to learn more about the ghost wrecking her life.

Her vulnerability gives way to determination, which in turn battles moments of cackling possession. Someone has to feel the fear in order that we can too, and Tae-ri does the heavy lifting in all of her scenes.

Similarly, there is so much more that could be done with the ghosts. Half caught glances of them in reflections are always creepy, as is the incessant banging on doors; never open a door unless you know who is on the other side, we are told.

The horror is well done when it is there, but it is just too infrequently deployed. Instead there are over long talking scenes discussing in painful detail what we already learned half an episode ago.

Stretched out over 12 hour long episodes, the diminishing charms of Revenant are hard to plough through.

Although it would have benefited from regular excursions away from it, the central plot is interesting as we discover the bloody origins of the San-yeong’s ghost.

It may be though that the best solution to that ceaseless knocking on the door is just to turn off the light and go to sleep.

Words by Mike Record

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  • Kim Tae-ri Carries The Show
  • Horror Elements Are Good When There
  • Central Plot Is Intriguing


  • Oh Jung-se Is One (flat) Note
  • Lack Of Episodic Variety
  • Drags Out The Central Plot With Slow Reveals


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