Occult thriller ‘Exhuma’ criticized for animal abuse

Moviegoers walk by a poster of 'Exhuma' in a theater in Seoul, March 24, when the movie surpassed 10 million viewers for the first time this year. Newsis

Korean megahit occult thriller “Exhuma” is under fire for animal abuse allegations as a local animal advocacy group recently discovered the production used live animals and animal carcasses in the movie.The Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) said Friday that the film’s production and distributor, Showbox, replied Thursday to its questionnaire on animal safety the group sent on April 12.The letter asked whether actual animals, including pigs, dogs, fish and chickens, were used or harmed in the filmmaking.The supernatural thriller, which drew more than 10 million viewers, revolves around two shamans — a feng shui expert and a mortician — who come together to delve into mysterious occurrences affecting a wealthy Korean family based in the United States.They embark on this quest by exhuming the grave of a family ancestor in a remote Korean village, which involves a traditional shamanistic “gut” ritual that requires killing animals.According to KARA, the production said it used five pig carcasses provided by a livestock retailer and returned them to the retailer after filming. The gut performance by Kim Ko-eun involves the stabbing of five dead pigs, used as sacrifices for supernatural beings.

Regarding live fish, which flopped on the ground while being used as bait to entice in the key villain, the production used edible sweetfish that lived beyond their expiration date at a fish farm. They were put back in the aquarium right after filming, but some died as a result of spending time on the ground, the group noted.Some live animals, including chickens, dogs and pigs were used in filming, the production noted. They were sourced from animal rental organizations or individual animal owners, and were shortly returned after filming.The production didn’t hire by a veterinarian in the filming process, but officials from the livestock retailer and fish farm supervised animal management.KARA condemned the production’s use of animals for the film, and the production promised to make efforts to prevent recurrences.“In overseas productions, the use of animal carcasses in media productions is strictly monitored due to the possibilities of their decay and the spreading of disease. Their bodies are either burned or buried to be processed accordingly under the related regulations,” the group said in a statement.The group urged the government to create guidelines for the safe use of animals in media production and regulate filmmakers’ use of animals for the safety of both animals and humans.American Humane has been providing guidelines for the safe use of animals in filmed media and certifying safely produced content to prevent animal abuse.Although Korea lacks official guidelines, KARA published similar guidelines for animal safety in media production based on animal ethology and in-depth interviews with media workers. The guidelines were distributed to 슬롯놀이터 Korean producers and filmmakers in 2020.

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