Movie ReviewsShudder’s The Medium (2021) Movie Review

IMDb Summary - A horrifying story of a shaman's inheritance in the Isan region of Thailand. What could be possessing a family member might not be the Goddess they make it out to be.
JulieGOctober 18, 202160/1007 min
Year of Release
2021
Studio
Shudder
Genre
Horror
Length
2h 10min
Rating
N/A
Overall Score
Rating Summary

The Medium follows a woman named Nim who talks about her experiences becoming a “Medium” for a goddess revered by the local people in the Isan region of Thailand. According to Nim, the goddess is considered a “good” deity. The film is shot like a documentary with several camera operators following the subjects they interview closely. This becomes almost intrusive later in the movie, which is right about when things get a little strange.

It is Nim that introduces us to the daily process of being a “medium”. When the camera focus switches to Nim’s niece named Mink, there is a lot of back and forth between family members. Things become more erratic as the camera jumps from person to person and from situation to situation. The film is shot in what appears to be a remote village in Thailand, which leads to a feeling of authenticity that fosters a sense of trust between the characters and the audience.

Nim advises that when the time comes for someone to become a “medium”, it is not anyone’s choice to make. It usually follows the females in the family, starting with the eldest daughter, and it can then fall to other female members of the family. There is a way to avoid becoming a medium, but Nim advises that refusing such an honour is not good. When Nim’s niece Mink is chosen, her family is unhappy with this choice, particularly Mink.

Mink begins to exhibit strange behaviour that Nim is hugely concerned about. This sets up the remainder of the film. The situation with Nim and then her niece escalates quickly during the final act. Something is not right with Mink, and her strange behaviour is beginning to freak everyone out.

SHUDDER'S THE MEDIUM 2021

The film then takes a dark turn, and it seems that Mink’s peculiar behaviour results from something that happened to her that nobody is talking about. This part of Nim’s story is never adequately addressed in the film. When the situation with Mink spirals out of control, it’s a desperate and challenging time for Mink’s family. The first portion of the film is well-done, and it’s shot precisely as you’d expect for a documentary. But when the film begins to track in a completely different direction, everything disintegrates from then on.

You’re pretty aware that something terrible is happening, but it’s harder to discern who it’s happening to as the final act is filmed entirely in the dark. This type of “confusion” worked exceptionally well in found footage films “The Blair Witch Project” and “REC”. Anything could be happening, but you are only able to catch glimpses of people. The use of sound is vital in these scenes because without seeing who is in front of the camera or even behind, all you can do is listen.

The Medium has a strong beginning, and the story of Nim and her family is genuinely interesting. But it’s just not executed well from then on. Both Narilya Gulmongkolpech as Mink and Sawanee Utoomma as Nim are excellent in their respective roles, as are most of the supporting cast. But the film’s final act is just hectic and messy, and it’s that much harder to feel afraid when you’re less inclined to believe what is happening to the cast.

Originally reviewed for Keithlovesmovies

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JulieG

Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on https://thebrokenquill.com.

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