MOUNT CHIAK (치악산) (2023)

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Kim Sun-Ung
Cast: Geu-rin Bae, Oon Kyun-Sang, Lee Tae-Hwan
Runtime: 1 hr 25 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Violence and Disturbing Scenes)
Released By: Cathay Cineplexes
Official Website:

Opening Day: 26 October 2023

Synopsis: Five members of the mountain bike club, Sangaja. To ride a mountain bike, they head to Chiaksan Mountain, where Min-joon's Uncle villa is located. After arriving at Chiaksan Mountain and enjoying the ride, strange things began to happen to the party.... And something unidentified chasing them. A desperate survival game for Sangaja's party to survive on Chiaksan Mountain begins.

Movie Review:

Human beings just don’t learn. You should be very suspicious and be very wary if your friends invite you to a mountain trip where you will be staying in a cabin that belonged to their relatives who mysteriously disappeared in the mountainous regions many years ago. It doesn’t matter if you are a biking enthusiast and the rocky landscape of the mountain promises an exciting experience, because there are just some obvious red flags that serve as signs that the trip will turn into a disaster.

Maybe everyone thinks that it is ok as long as the group stays together, but when strange incidents begin happening before things become deadly, surely that’s a very strong hint for you to scoot off and make attempts to return back to civilisation as soon as possible? But hey, without this illogical human behaviour that happens more often in horror movies, we wouldn’t be treated to this scare fest directed by Kim Sun-Ung.

While the urban legend that is mentioned in the movie doesn’t have any basis, the titular mountain is an actual location in South Korea. The story sees a group of five young people from a mountain bike club making their way to Mount Chiak to check out the terrain, with the objective of having an enjoyable time riding in the area. The first warning sign comes in the form of a creepy old woman who shows up while they are en route to the cabin, telling them that they will die if they continue their journey. Call this writer a coward, but he would have immediately headed back down the mountain.

Without saying too much, other bizarre things begin to take place. We see artefacts with historic text imprinted, someone starts sleepwalking, and someone is bewildered with stones strangely stacked up on top of each other. Oh, since the gang is in the wild, a bloody encounter with an animal happens too.

With a runtime of less than one and a half hours, the movie does a great job at delivering the chills and scares in a surprisingly efficient manner. One moment we are wondering why the characters are experiencing these odd occurrences, the next moment we see them split up in different locations having to manage different ordeals. One guy rides out into the woods (not a very smart move, if you ask us) to search for a female character who seemingly gets sucked into another space, while two other guys find themselves at the cabin’s basement where there is a control centre of sorts, where they chance upon old documents and video tapes that suggest that something supernatural might have happened years before. Then there is also the other female character who develops a rash on her neck that becomes worse – you can expect something very terrible to happen.

The main cast which includes Geu-rin Bae, Oon Kyun-Sang, Lee Tae-Hwan, Kim Ye-Won and Je-wook Yoon does a fine job playing characters in peril. Some of the characters they portray would have a bloodier experience than others, but none will escape the cursed finale that is bound to happen the moment you see them ascending the mountain.

Movie Rating:

(An efficient and competent scare fest that delivers the chills in 85 minutes)

Review by John Li

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