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BFI London Film Festival 2016: The Wailing Review

The Wailing

By on 15/10/2016

The Wailing is a new breed of horror movie….

In 2008 a unique serial killer movie was unleashed on the masses which forever changed the game – in the first 30 minutes of The Chaser the killer is caught and what unwinds after then is one of the most intense chase movies ever. That was my first introduction to Hong-Jin Na. His follow up movie The Yellow Sea blew me away and solidified Hong-Jin Na as one of my favourite directors and he reached acclaimed director status after 2 movies

The Wailing is his 3rd movie and his first foray into the horror genre and his previous two movies didn’t prepare me for what I witnessed

The Wailing Trailer

About The Wailing

In a small Korean village a strange disease grips the town leading to people suffering from some madness and perpetrating a series of brutal murders. This is all occurring at the same time that a mysterious Japanese stranger has appeared in the town. Police sergeant Jong-Goo (Do Won) is the lead investigator of the mystery and his daughter gets struck down by the disease as it unravels. I won’t say any more regarding this fantastic plot as it should be watched blind but for the next 150 minutes what unravels is a story of strangers, zombies, shamanism, chases, ghosts and the nature of good & evil that will have on the edge of your seat with thrill and scare rides that are reminiscent of The Chaser and The Yellow Sea but in some ways turned up a notch. The Wailing is a new breed of horror movie – it’s a marriage of so many themes from family, political undertones of Japanese imperialism, shamanism and Catholicism on top of a detective story, ghosts, murders and more

The Wailing

One thing that Na Hong-Jin is an expert in is the infusing of comedy into his movies. Without these elements of comedic relief in the film it would be a very hard watch. The antics of Jong Goo will have you crying with laughter but are so expertly placed that it doesn’t take away from the rest of the film or seem out of place

Comedy soon descends into horror as you get drawn into this spooky thriller and will leave you wondering whom to trust as the mystery unravels. The Wailing over its 150 minutes descends from police drama to dissection of the nature of good & evil and the nature of religion both traditional and those later brought in and their role in Korean society. The Wailing is an intense ride that gets under your skin and doesn’t leave. Highly recommended