The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] 'The Bequeathed' merges concepts of horror and family

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Jan. 18, 2024 - 15:20

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Yeon Sang-ho (Netflix) Yeon Sang-ho (Netflix)

Yeon Sang-ho, star director of mega-hits such as the 2016 zombie film "Train to Busan" and the 2021 Netflix original fantasy drama series "Hellbound," is back with "The Bequeathed," a new Netflix original thriller drama series.

"The Bequeathed" is a 6-part series that focuses on a series of ominous events which occur after Yoon Seo-ha (Kim Hyun-joo) receives a family grave site as inheritance following the death of her uncle. Conflict heightens as her half-brother, Kim Young-ho (Ryu Kyung-soo), confronts her, attempting to claim his portion of the inheritance.

Yeon said that, with "The Bequeathed," he wanted to present a thriller drama series that simultaneously explores the concept of horror and family.

"I found the idea of using family grave sites as a theme for a drama series intriguing. (With such a topic), I thought about what kind of story could unfold. Since family grave sites are undoubtedly associated with family, I felt that the central theme (of the drama series) should revolve around the story of a family," said Yeon, during an interview held with reporters in Seoul on Monday.

"I contemplated how to express the (convergence) of two conflicting concepts. As a solution, I decided to introduce occult elements," he said.

According to Yeon, the concept of the occult maximized the horror in the series, while efficiently depicting the key characteristics of family, according to Yeon.

"I thought families and religions shared similar natures," said Yeon. He added that concepts such as rituals and the cycle of descendants inheriting sins from their ancestors fit well with the image of family and horror.

When asked if a global audience might find it hard to relate to the drama series due to the presence of traditional Korean concepts such as the tradition of bequeathing family graves to relatives, Yeon said the concept of family, the central theme of the drama series, is something everyone can relate to.

"I am most curious about how the global audience will view 'The Bequeathed.' There are not many countries with a concept like family grave sites. That's why the title translates to 'The Bequeathed' in English," he said. The original Korean title for the drama series is "Seonsan," a Korean word for family grave sites.

"However, while family grave sites may not exist (in many other places), there's no country in the world without families. If the global viewers can empathize with the concept of family, I think (the drama series) could be understood globally," he said.

The first and second episodes of "The Bequeathed" will be released on Netflix on Friday.

A scene from A scene from "The Bequeathed," starring Kim Hyun-joo (Netflix)