Cho Yo-jeong fights against fate in new horror film 'Tarot'

From left, producer Choi Byung-gil, actors Kim Jin-young, Cho Yeo-jeong and Ko Kyu-phil pose for a photo at a press conference for the upcoming film ″Tarot″ in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Wednesday. [NEWS1]

Tarot card readings are a divisive issue. Some believe in their ability to predict the future, while others don't. Your opinion might change, however, after watching the new horror film “Tarot,” which hits local theaters Friday.

The film revolves around characters who each encounter a doomed destiny after discovering a cursed tarot card, with each episode in the film following their struggle to avoid the inevitable.

“There are times in life when we face a situation that seems like an inevitable destiny, which we know we can never avoid,” producer Choi Byung-gil said at a press conference held in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Wednesday, ahead of the film's premiere on Friday. “‘Tarot’ is about those people who try everything they can to defy their destiny.”

“Tarot” features “Parasite” (2019) actor Cho Yeo-jeong, playing Ji-woo, “Single’s Inferno” (2022) star Kim Jin-young, also well-known as Dex, playing Dong-in, and actor Ko Kyu-phil, known for his role as Chorongi in “The Roundup: No Way Out” (2023), playing Kyung-rae.

The film, an anthology of the first three episodes of a seven-episode mystery series, starts off with Cho’s episode, “Do you believe in Santa?,” followed by Ko’s “Going Home” and Kim’s “Delivery Call.”

A still from horror thriller film ″Tarot″ [Studio X+U]

In “Do you believe in Santa?” Cho appears as the working single mom Ji- woo, who raises her daughter all alone.

“'Do you believe in Santa?' follows an oddly weird, horrifying and bizarre mystery on Christmas Day,” Cho said. “My character, who struggles to work and raise her child, is a mother who tries not to destroy her daughter’s innocence.”

Ko presents his character Kyung-rae as an “inappropriate salaryman” and his episode, “Going Home,” follows his journey home in a suspicious taxi, which goes horribly wrong.

Kim’s “Delivery Call,” the last episode shown in the film, centers around a young deliveryman named Dong-in, who has “a strong desire for success and has hope in life,” according to Kim.

The film is a hybrid between a drama series and a film, which was initially planned out, according to Choi. The producer denies that the film is just an advertisement for the entire series.

“It was planned from the start as a mid-form series, aiming to kill two birds with one stone by creating it into both a film and drama series,” Choi said.

A still from horror thriller film ″Tarot″ [Studio X+U]

The other episodes not seen in the film will be released in July, according to the producer.

Actor Cho, through this film, found a chance to visit Cannes, France, once again for the first time in five years — the last time being for the critically acclaimed “Parasite.” Her recent film, “Tarot,” was nominated to compete in the short form category of the Cannes International Series Festival early this year, which she “never expected.”

It is so far the first and only piece of Korean content to be nominated in this category of the festival.

For Kim, "Tarot" was his film acting debut, which he describes as “a new and pleasant” experience.

“I waited and waited to meet a character that I can carry out well, and Dong-in was the one,” Kim said, saying that he rejected a few offers before seeing “Tarot.”

Cho also revealed a secret in the film, saying that Choi was not only the producer but also a voice actor in the film.

“In my episode, there is a scene where I talk with my ex-husband over the phone,” Cho said. “The person playing my ex-husband was not cast during that scene. So, Choi played the voice of my ex-husband.”

When asked whether the cast and producer wanted to know the future of the film's success by consulting the tarot cards, most of them said they would. But, Kim wanted to know something else.

“For me, as this is my first acting experience, [I want to ask] how much negative feedback I will receive,” Kim said. “So I can brace myself.”

A still from horror thriller film ″Tarot″ [Studio X+U]

However, Kim added that he is not afraid of receiving such negative feedback, which he said that he rather prefers so he can improve as an actor.

“A point that the audience should look out for is the tarot cards,” Choi said. “The meaning of the cards differs when they are pointed upward or downward.”

“Tarot” is an oddly cooling film to watch in the summer, Cho added.

The horror thriller film, planned and created by Studio X+U, a content brand established by telecommunications company LG U+, will premiere Friday and will only be available in CGV theaters.