Exhuma: All Locations Where the Movie Was Filmed

Directed by Jang Jae-hyun, ‘Exhuma,’ also titled ‘Pamyo,’ is a South Korean horror film which delves into a supernatural tale involving Korean history and the ceremonial practices of burial and exhumation. The film follows two shamans, Hwa-rim and her understudy, Bong-gil, as a wealthy family hires them to identify and heal their infant son’s mysterious illness. Soon realizing that the disease is a curse visited upon the child by an ancestor within the family, the shaman pair begins the process of excavating his grave and relocating him somewhere he won’t have influence. However, this unleashes a series of dreadful events as the buried past comes back to haunt the family.

Depicting a world where modernity and tradition have clashed, ‘Exhuma’ digs into the roots of Korean history through the lens of supernatural horror. It uncovers its occult thriller narrative through a symbolic exploration of the deep-rooted spirit of the East Asian country. With mountain ranges, deep forested regions, and characters who meddle in shamanistic and geomantic practices, the film takes you into the heart of mysticism in a modern setting. The production crew had to choose specific locations for shooting to bring the film’s unique occult-based aesthetic to life by mixing contrasting themes of a new and old world.

Exhuma Filming Locations

The movie was primarily filmed across various locations in South Korea. Although the narrative is set in the Baekdu-Daegan, a mountain range in the northern parts of the country where the border with North Korea lies, the production crew had to be flexible with their shooting because of the seasonal changes and the arrival of cold. To avoid the winter, they constantly moved south in the country to ensure their landscapes were unmitigated from snowfall and preserved an autumnal look and feel instead. The principal photography began in October 2022 and finished by March 2022.

Baekdu-Daegan, South Korea

The Baekdu-Daegan mountain range is an essential natural landmark in South Korea. Its connection with its spiritual past and natural beauty lends to the vast open landscapes and forested regions, which were lensed for specific scenes within ‘Exhuma.’ The film’s notable scenes, including the travel to the ancestor’s grave, were stitched together from various sites around the country, and the symbolic Korean mountain range played a pivotal part in building the backdrop. Baekdu Daegan stretches around 1500 km, which is the entire Korean peninsula. It features Korea’s highest sacred peak, Baekdusan Mountain, on the border between China and North Korea.

Seoul, South Korea

Although ‘Exhuma’ features many historical and rural locations, Seoul, South Korea, was utilized as a filming site for certain scenes. The filmmaker and his crew had to blend elements of past and present, and the hyper-modernized city of Seoul holds towering skyscrapers alongside a mystical landscape of Buddhist temples and old Korean architecture. Scenes were shot in the Plaza Hotel at 119 Sogong-ro in Jung District in the capital city. Particularly one where the actor Choi Min-sik, who plays the Feng Shui master Kim Sang-deok, remarks about its excellent location. Incidentally, Choi Min-sik was married at the hotel in 1999.

Busan, South Korea

The port city of Busan, South Korea, also lent its unique availability of mountains and temples to the production crew’s vision for a historical and nature-inspired setting. Many locations in Busan found their way into the film, including the one in Ahopsan Forest, a privately owned forest where a scene involving the trail up to the grave was filmed. It is a nursery located at 37-1 Midong-gil on Cheolma-myeon in Gijang-gun county in Busan, South Korea. Pine trees, Cypress trees, oak trees, and much more can be found in this historic forest, which has been around for nearly 400 years and is open to public visits.

Yangsan, South Korea

Yangsan City, another major city in South Korea, is famous for its mix of temples and nature reserves. It is part of the South Gyeongsang province of the country and forms part of the background of ‘Exhuma.’ The hike up to the grave was a blend of extraordinary sequences lensed across various places. Daeunsan Recreation Forest Camping offered another unique filming spot in Yangsan, South Korea. It is a forest featuring housing accommodation in the form of wooden cottages, and there are hiking trails that lead up to Mount Daeun. The region sits above 300 meters from sea level and has a waterfall and open spaces nearby.

South Jeolla, South Korea

Gyeongsang Village in the South Jeolla province of South Korea was featured in a flashback sequence when Hwa-rim hides behind an ancient tree with massive grooves and holy necklaces tied around it. This tree is called a Dangsan Tree, a reference to old trees that act as protective guardians in rural villages around the Korean peninsula. The tree, in particular, witnessed in the film was shot in Gyeongsang village, where the locals have specific myths surrounding it.

Thus, a mixture of natural and rural landscapes was utilized to form the mystical and historical setting of the South Korean horror film. Eerie and enigmatic, its director was adamant about shooting as much as possible without visual effects. As such, set locations were utilized, particularly the scene involving the exhumation ritual performed by Hwa-rim in the film. These sets were designed by Art director Seo Seong-kyung, who meticulously made sure that everything shot on set fit seamlessly alongside the actual location footage. However, the crew hasn’t revealed details about the exact studio locations or specific set buildings.

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