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Film / Svaha: The Sixth Finger

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Svaha: The Sixth Finger is a 2019 horror film from South Korea directed by Jang Jae-hyun.

The film kicks off with a teenaged girl named Lee Geum-hwa telling her story. Some years ago, she was born one of a pair of twins. Her sister was born deformed and was not expected to live; in the womb she supposedly survived by gnawing on Geum-hwa's leg. Their mother died in childbirth and their father committed suicide thereafter, but Geum-hwa's "demon" twin did not die. Her superstitious grandparents have kept the sister locked up ever since.

Cut to Pastor Park (Lee Jung-jae), a Catholic priest who specializes in debunking cults. He is alerted to the presence of a mysterious splinter Buddhist sect called Deer Mountain. While that is going on the body of a teenaged girl is found entombed in the concrete of a tunnel. The dead girl is connected to a disciple of the Deer Mountain cult, and Pastor Park eventually finds a horrifying conspiracy that is linked to the Deer Mountain cult.

Tropes present in Svaha: The Sixth Finger include:

  • Bald Mystic: Geum-hwa's sister is hidden from view for most of the film, but when she's finally revealed during her meeting with Na-han, she's totally bald. She has shed her horrifying Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl look and become a Buddha.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Na-han bolts upright after a horrifying dream of Geum-hwa's "demon" sister. It turns out the girl was trying to communicate with Na-han in his dreams.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The "henchman", the nondescript man who's looking after the plants in the garden when he isn't looking after the desperately ill Father Kim Je-seok, is actually the real Kim Je-seok.
  • Creepy Crows: A flock of creepy crows or ravens is flitting about over the creepy house as Na-han arrives to kill Geum-hwa's demon twin. They start crashing through the windows as Na-han approaches the shed where the girl is locked up.
  • Dead-Hand Shot: After Father Kim has finally been killed, Geum-hwa's twin also dies, as shown by her hand flopping down into the camera shot.
  • Death by Childbirth: Geum-hwa's mother died shortly after giving birth to her and her deformed sister.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The film takes place at Christmastime, which has no relevance other than being the reason a Tibetan Buddhist lama is in Korea for an interfaith ceremony. The lama gives Pastor Park some very useful information about Father Kim Je-seok.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Geum-hwa's father killed himself not long after the birth of the twins and his wife's Death by Childbirth.
    • Kim Cheol-jin, one of the four "kings" charged with protecting Father Kim, hangs himself. He is ridden with guilt over murdering all those teenaged girls.
  • Evil Twin: Averted. Everyone thinks Geum-hwa's deformed sister is an evil twin, a demon, which is why she's been locked up her whole life. But instead the girl reaches enlightenment as a Buddha and helps Na-han to kill Father Kim, the true Big Bad.
  • Extra Digits: Geum-hwa's sister tells Na-han that the mark of the evil one, "Father", is how he has six fingers on each hand. The henchman who is revealed to be Father Kim does in fact have six fingers.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Geum-hwa's sister tells Na-han that Father Kim is the evil one and must be killed. She then hands him a lighter. At the climax Father Kim winds up crashing the car carrying him and a mortally wounded Na-han, but Father Kim is able to walk away—until Na-han lights the lighter and sets the spilled gasoline around the car on fire. Father Kim catches fire and burns to death.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: It's eventually revealed that the terminally ill old man, identified as Father Kim Je-seok the leader of the Deer Mountain cult, isn't. His helpful henchman is the real "Father" and the sick man in the bed is a decoy.
  • Man on Fire: How Father Kim Je-seok meets his end, after Na-han sets fire to the spilled gasoline between them.
  • No Name Given: In-Universe it is specifically stated that Geum-hwa's deformed sister was never registered with the authorities after her birth and was never given a name.
  • Produce Pelting: Pastor Park is pelted by eggs, thrown by the angry nuns of a particular convent, after he has outed them as Fake Faith Healers.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Father Kim, who is in reality 116 years old, is revealed to be a man in his forties. Apparently the very act of murdering all the girls born in a particular village in 1999 has given Father Kim extended youth.
  • Religious Horror: A Catholic priest who specializes in debunking cults investigates a particularly scary, murderous offshoot of Buddhism.