Svaha: The Sixth Finger Netflix  Review – Muddled Horror film criticising Religious Groups
Jang Jae-hyun sophomore project, ‘Svaha: The Sixth Finger’ cleverly weaves the religious fundamentalism and the horrific consequence of embracing the religious cult. It’s a scathing satire on the very religion that turns people fanatic. The debut film of Jang ‘The Priests’ deals with a subject criticizing the religious belief where the demarcated line of evil and righteous starts blurring as a consequence of finding the truth. ‘Svaha: The Sixth Finger’ has a similar underlying theme that is often lost under the burden of the cluttered screenplay.
Svaha: The Sixth Finger has multiple subplots that run parallel, like a piece of the puzzle, that gradually fits together in the end for a shocking but underwhelming revelation. Christian pastor Park (Lee Jung-Jae), who investigates and discloses shady pseudo-religious groups, is after a new religious group; the new religious group is suspected to be involved in child murder; a religious fanatic Na-han (Park Jung-min) is involved in a goose chase; and a young girl, Geum-hwa (Lee Jae-in), is hiding an evil spirit in the home.
All the events unfold in parallel. When a young girl’s body is discovered following a tunnel accident, Pastor Park is stunned to learn Na-han and Geum-hwa could possibly be a part of a bigger religious conspiracy. Gradually the dots start connecting to reveal coercive persuasion of the religious cult and its harrowing implication on the followers. The religious occult seeks fear and faith in its followers to direct them as per their will.
The movie is initially accessorised with horror elements, though as the narrative gets deeper, the mystery surrounding the religious cult and their agenda becomes of a driving force to the narration. The issue with the film is that the subplots are never fully realised for all the events feel like a part of one conspiracy. Many secondary characters look disinterested and they are merely used to raise the stake of the narrative without adding any significant element to the puzzle piece.
The entire police investigation arc lead by Chief Hwang (played by revered actor Jung Jin-young) is subpar and futile to the plot. It’s is hurtful to see Jung Jin-young wasted in a caricature role which any other actor could have played. Lee Jung-Jae as a Pastor is convincing in his act but there is nothing substantial to chew on.
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The characters are not fleshed out properly, the writing is weak and the screenplay is incoherent. The only thing that stands out is its sharp direction that manages to intrigue and creates tense moments but they are seldom. Svaha: The Sixth Finger has a muddled narrative and inconsistent pacing. The uneven drama criticizing the religious cult and questioning the faith and beliefs of its audience in God is never fully realised to leave us thinking.