“You Can’t Look Back”: Scriptwriter Kim Eun Hee’s Bone-Chilling Experience While Researching For “Revenant”

She went to extreme extents to investigate authentically.

Revenant, the freshest horror K-Drama in town, is already sweeping up viewership ratings with just two episodes out. The Kim Tae Ri-starrer has managed to spook viewers out with its tight-knit script about a girl possessed by an evil spirit and a man who can see ghosts and gods.

(From left to right) Oh Jung Se, Kim Tae Ri, and Hong Kyung in the poster of “Revenant” | Hancinema

A significant chunk of the credit for the show’s success goes to Kim Eun Hee, who wrote the script for the drama. On June 23, she appeared as a special guest on Yoo Jae Suk‘s YouTube show Just An Excuse and shared a real-life spooky experience.

(From left to right) Yoo Jae Suk, director Jang Hang Joon, and “Revenant” writer Kim Eun Hee | @ddeunddeun/YouTube

Kim Eun Hee told the host that for Revenant, her background work was more focused on folklore than ghosts since the drama’s plot heavily relies on Korean folklore. In particular, she mentioned a folk ritual called “Dangje,” which she researched extensively before writing the script.

Before writing ‘Revenant’, I conducted research on a ritual called ‘dangje’, where the villagers collectively worship the local deity who protects the village.

—Kim Eun Hee

Kim actually went to a village to experience the ritual herself. It was during the night, and she recalled, “couldn’t see anything. We could only see a few lights and hear people talking.” 

But the actual spooky part started once the ritual was over. The village head warned her and the crew, “You can’t look back from this point,” explaining that evil spirits would get attached to them if anyone looked back.

Kim said it was so dark that nothing in front of her was visible. She was eager to look back and call someone, but nobody around her dared look back. Even the director Jang Hang Joon refused to turn around and kept answering his crew while looking at the ground ahead. Though it was one of the scariest experiences for Kim, she used it in her scriptwriting for Revenant.

The writer then shared a second spooky story, even more frightening than the previous one. She clarified that the story was not hers but something one of her closest staff members had shared.

During a production’s outdoor filming schedule, two makeup staff members stayed in the same room at a motel. At night, one of them felt that the other person was leaning her back onto her, which was unusual since she wasn’t keen on physical touch.

While wondering why her roommate was suddenly backing into her, the staff member looked ahead and saw a blanket hanging in front of her. But then, a pair of hands appeared from the sides, holding the blanket.

Scared, when she shot up from her sleep, she realized that her roommate had seen the same thing, and that’s why she was clinging to her out of fear.

Later, the staff discovered that a man had killed a woman he had an affair with at the motel, suffocating her with a blanket.

Kim Eun Hee was eager to share one more story, but Yoo Jae Suk was already so freaked out that he made her stop immediately!

Meanwhile, Revenant marks Kim’s return to the small screen after two years. The celebrated writer has multiple successful K-Dramas in her repertoire, including the Kingdom franchise. Revenant airs every Friday and Saturday at 10 pm KST on SBS TV. It is also available for streaming on Disney+ in selected regions.