- Product Rating -

Art House Asshole : The Wailing

| July 15, 2016

You know how when you’re wanting to go to the movie theater and you look up all the films that are showing and there are alway at least three that you’ve never heard of, let alone have any interest in seeing? Well good news! I’ve seen those movies. I spend most of my theater experiences in art house theaters watching those movies that you’ve never heard of and then never watch. Yeah, I’m that hipster asshole. My goal with this is to spread information out about these films, that way you can decide one of the following. “That actually sounds pretty cool! I want to see that now!” or “Man, I’m glad I decided to go see the new superhero movie!”. So without further ado, here is my article and review of The Wailing.

The Wailing is a Korean film made by Na Hong-jin. This was his third film following his debut with Chaser in 2008 and The Yellow Sea in 2010. Na Hong-jin has made a name for himself as a master of Crime Thrillers in the Korean film circuit, but this is his first film where the tone of the film goes beyond Thriller and into straight horror. The plot of the film follows a small town a few miles out of Seoul as a mysterious sickness starts spreading, causing deaths ranging from bizarre to down right horrifying. A cowardly police officer of the town takes interest in the sickness after he finds that his daughter becomes infected. This forces him to solve the mystery behind the disease to save his daughter and the remaining members of his town.

While watching the film, I was trying to find a good film that I could compare it to, but the film evolves in such a way that it is hard to really describe. I’ve seen some critic compare the film to The Exorcist but I’m not quite sure if that would be right. The film can probably be best described as Se7en meets The Conjuring. In most horror films, the most forgettable points of the film are often the parts in-between the real horror. But in The Wailing’s case, when you aren’t horrified by what is on-screen, you are still invested in the overall story that the main character is trying to solve. Which makes for a great multi-genre film, that has very few low points.

The film is very long though. It clocks in at just under two hours and forty minutes. I wouldn’t say the films drags. I would say the film keeps going for longer than you expect it too, but a wide margin. There is a moment where I thought the film was ending, when it was the beginning of the third act. The third act is the best part of the film, but I wasn’t expecting it would keep going to the point where it answered questions I didn’t even know I had. Along with that same moment, there are two more moments where you think the film is going to end, but it doesn’t. Each “ending” the film gives an extra piece of information that makes the film better and better, leading to hard gut wrenching ending, but it does feel almost like an endurance battle toward the end.

The acting is superb in the film. There wasn’t a single weak link of the film, including the young Kim Hwan-hee who plays the infected daughter. The lead in the film, Kwak Do-won is fantastic as the lovable and complex lead. This is Kwak Do-won’s second collaboration with Na Hong-jin as they both worked together in The Yellow Sea. Kwan Do-won is arguably best known for his role in The Attorney, for which he received multiple award nominations. The most notable of all the actors, however, is Jun Kunimura. Jun Kunimura makes his Korean debut in the film, though he speaks only Japanese. Kunimura would be best known to American audiences as Boss Tanaka in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Much of the film revolves around Kunimura’s character and I don’t want to spoil what his character ends up doing throughout the film.

I would say that The Wailing is a fantastic Horror film. Many claim that it is one of the best Korean Horror films made in the past ten years, I haven’t seen enough Korean Horror films to have a strong opinion on the matter, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Yes, the film is very long. But the mystery fused with the horror makes for a film that had me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who was telling the truth and who is right.  It takes a little while to get going and find it’s horror, but that only makes the horror that much more disturbing. If you are a fan of Horror, especially Korean Horror apparently, then I would check this out when you get the chance.

About the Author:

Henry Jarvis is the youngest member of the Reel Nerds. His favorite films include Space Jam and Dude, Where’s My Car? and Lawrence of Arabia. He enjoys those pretentious art house films that Ryan hates. He sees a lot of movies! Honestly more than he should. He replaces his lack of social skills and meaningful friendships with his love of cinema! He’s also crying while he writes this biography for himself. His favorite directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, David Fincher, and David Lean.
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