This Korean Horror Just Crept Up to Become a 2024 Box Office Sensation

This Korean Horror Just Crept Up to Become a 2024 Box Office Sensation
Image credit: Warner Bros., Showbox Entertainment

Meet the new sleeper hit from Korea.


  • This film is the surprise hit that nobody saw coming.
  • It is the highest grossing film in South Korea, selling over 10 million tickets and beating even Dune: Part Two.
  • Its success is set to continue as it gets a wider release around the world.

In today's film landscape of adaptations, sequels, reboots and remakes, this Korean hit, written and directed by Jang Jae-hyun, is a breath of fresh air.

The plot follows a wealthy Korean family who, worried about their newborn son's mysterious illness, seek the help of a famous shaman. Together with her protégé, the shaman soon discovers that the illness is the work of the evil spirit of a long-dead family member seeking revenge.

Working with a skilled mortician and a respected geomancer, the shaman finds the offending ancestral spirit's grave in a dark and foreboding burial ground, leading them all to conclude that the area itself must be cursed. The solution seems obvious: remove the remains from the cursed site and all should be well. As the group decides how to exhume and relocate the body, they are unaware that they are about to make a fatal mistake: by digging up the body, they will inadvertently disturb an evil that is not pleased with their actions. And they will soon learn that there is a terrible price to pay for disturbing the dead.

Why is it Such a Box Office Hit?

Is a thrilling story based on the popular horror tropes, a passionate writer/director and the brilliant cast, led by Oldboy’s (2003) Choi Min-suk, and Little Women's (2022) Kim Go-eun enough for a film to take its entire country by storm? The consensus among fans and those in the know is that a combination of factors have collided to create the perfect storm in which this film can thrive. It is high-quality, new, different, and exciting, and has been released when people are less afraid to attend the movie theatre.

Outside South Korea

Exhuma has yet to premiere worldwide, however, initial screenings have shown some very promising results, and it has already netted just over $75 million. In the USA, even with its limited release across only 67 screens, it has earned an average of over $7,000 per screening. That is almost unheard of for a Korean film, with the notable exception of Parasite (2019) which ended up taking $258 million worldwide.

Exhuma is also now showing in New Zealand, Australia, and parts of the UK. There is little doubt that as it continues to be released around the world, it will generate more buzz. And with social media all ablaze about this intriguing new Korean film, the earnings are likely to just grow and grow.