TAROT (타로) (2024)

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Choi Byung-gil
Cast: Cho Yeo-jeong, Kim Jin-young, Ko Kyu-phil, Park Ha-sun, Seo Ji-hoon
Runtime: 1 hr 34 mins
Rating: M18 (Disturbing Scenes and Violence)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 11 July 2024

Synopsis: Three people experience something sinister after receiving tarot cards. The cards hold dual meanings, and no one can escape their prophecy. Mystery tales that could happen somewhere, featuring situations in our everyday encounters with family, neighbours and strangers. After characters receive a single tarot card each time, some believe in the tarot cards predicting the future while others ignore them, but nobody knows the truth. Soon, they experience extreme horrors opposite to the predictions of the tarot cards…

Movie Review:

The premise of this Korean horror movie is simple enough. The protagonists of three different stories each chance upon a tarot card and end up in quite a bit of trouble. We have seen enough horror flicks to know that while some people believe that tarot cards can provide insights into their lives and predict the future, they can be associated with supernatural practices and lead to sinister outcomes. So, watching the three segments would be like catching three episodes of a TV series.

And that’s exactly what the marketing spin is for this 94 minute movie directed by Choi Byung-gil. The three stories are actually three episodes from a horror mystery thriller series of the same name. It’s like a sampler for audiences so that they can decide whether to follow the seven episode series when it premieres in mid July.

To create hype, the team probably chose the most buzz worthy tales to be told on the big screen. The first segment titled “Do you believe in Santa?” sees a working mom going through hardship as she raises her daughter. To make things worse, the single mother has to work on Christmas Day and leave her daughter alone at home. As she goes through the day working as a cashier in a department store, she is also seeing some strange things happenin to her daughter at home. She becomes anxious and it doesn’t help that her unreasonable supervisor is on her back, and accusing her of a possible theft.

Cho Yeo-jeong (Parasite) headlines this segment and delivers a heartfelt performance that will make all mothers proud of what they have gone through for their kids. There is nothing particularly scary about this story, and while there are some foreboding moments, the ending is bittersweet enough to make viewers feel for the situation. Naturally, this segment was selected for the Short Form Competition at the 7th Cannes International Series Festival in April.

The second segment titled “Going home” is the most entertaining of the lot. Ko Kyu-pil (The Roundup: No Way Out) plays a man who seems to have had a really bad day. We first see him in a police car as he tries to explain his misfortunes to a cop. The married man talks about how he was spending time with his girlfriend in a hotel, indicating that he isn’t a wholesome dude. One thing leads to another, and he soon finds himself getting paranoid in a taxi after leaving the hotel, no thanks to the suspicious cab driver who can’t seem to handle his rage. Without saying too much, this segment will end in a bloody mess.

There are some funny moments in this segment that audiences will be tickled by. While the concept of having a character go through a series of unfortunate events due to bad luck isn’t new, it still makes of good entertainment. Furthermore, the chubby actor has what it takes to play the role and have you sympathising with his misadventure.  

Fans of gore will embrace the third segment titled “Delivery call”. Kim Jin-young, whom fans know as Dex, plays a confident delivery rider who finds himself sending food to a woman in a dilapidated apartment. The woman starts behaving bizarrely and he tries to distance himself, only to meet with dire consequences.

The good looking celebrity whom many know from the reality TV series Single’s Inferno provides eye candy for most part of this segment, and sheds his idol package in a shocking ending that concludes the movie. This is the part where horror fans would snigger in glee and understand why this movie received a M18 (Disturbing Scenes and Violence) rating and consumer advice.

Movie Rating:

(There is enough drama, entertainment and gore in the three stories featured in this movie to make you interested to find out what the TV sereis has to offer)

Review by John Li 

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