‘Svaha’ first appears in the Buddhist texts of the Dharanis, which were incorporated into the Mahayana Buddhist sutras, such as the “White Lotus” and the “Golden Light.” – Yogapedia
Some of my favorite horror films of the past decade have come out of Korea: I Saw the Devil, The Wailing and Train to Busan are just three awesome films to come out of the region and now I can add Svaha: The Sixth Finger to the group.
Unlike a lot of Korean horror where the director takes a lot of time to develop toward anything, Svaha gets nutty pretty quickly. We begin with a young girl discussing the day she was born; a day when the goats wouldn’t stop wailing. She was born just after her twin sister who was covered in black hair…oh, and she had been feeding on her sister’s leg while in the womb. The doctors said that this child would not last long; that she would die quickly. Well, doctors aren’t always right and she lived, locked in a barn, never being taught to speak…because her family thinks she’s a demon.
We then meet Pastor Park whose job is to hunt down and expose offshoot religions/cults in an effort to not only keep dangerous cults from gaining speed but also to keep Buddhism and Catholicism in the forefront of Korea’s religions. Through Park’s investigations, he uncovers a group called Deer Mount who, on the surface, seems like a relatively harmless yoga-type organization. There’s also Police Captain Hwang who is busy investigating the death of a local middle-school girl and is also busy ignoring Pastor Park as much as he can.
Now remember when I said that the movie started quickly? Well, it did, but now it’s gonna slooow down quite a bit. The film has made its introductions and injected a few key elements and it’s now ready to hit the brakes and do some deep character and story development. We’re going to spend a lot of time on Park and his partner’s investigative work and you’re going to learn more about Buddhism than you ever thought you would – but this is not a negative! If you’re interested in religion and cult investigation, you will not be bored…trust me.
As I’m sure you can ween from the above, the “demon sister” is not done with this film, nor is the seemingly benign Deer Mount. The action will pick back up and young writer/director Jae-hyun Jang will take you on an exciting/confusing/terrifying/mind-bending and sometimes funny adventure of fear and faith that will make the two-hour journey through Svaha: The Sixth Finger seem like mere moments.
Stay gory my friends.