The Wailing (2016)

The Wailing (2016) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: The Wailing
Year: 2016
Country: South Korea/USA
Director: Hong-jin Na
Main cast: Jun Kunimura, Jung-min Hwang, Do Won Kwak
Runtime: 156 minutes
Production company: 20th Century Fox, Ivanhoe Pictures, Side Mirror


Written and directed by Hong-jin Na, a South-Korean director previously known for The Chaser (2008) and The Yellow Sea (2010), The Wailing is his new long awaited movie that broke box office records in Korea and delighted the Sitges Film Festival audience.

The Wailing is a very well constructed horror movie, based on folk religions from Korea and Nepal, hence with a strong amount of fantasy and superstitions. A mysterious sickness starts spreading in a small village, which causes people to lash out violently, and has apparently no rational explanation. A policeman, reticent about popular beliefs and supernatural forces, investigates with little desire in what appears to be a comedy-drama full of scary moments. Laughs and tension are magically combined, and little by little give way to a thriller that darkens in its way to become a horror movie with all the letters. Not even the director was aware that he was building something that dark…

As our policeman is forced to get more involved into the investigation, his main problem resides in how to fight an unseen force. Magic, shamans and murders weave in this movie an endless tension that grows in the spectator and keeps the interest along the more that two hours and a half of film. A greatly ambitious movie filled up with so many details that asks for more than one viewing, steadily and stylishly crossing genres in a breathless korean odyssey to the dark human sides.

Terrifying and emotive in equal parts, this nightmare brought by Na Hong-jin is definitely worth your time. Played in a rainy South Korean countryside, reminded me of other great movies like Memories of Murder (2003) -which has become almost a classic of the asian genre- or at a different level, the chilean movie Magic, Magic (2013) -kind of underrated from my point of view, but definitely worth seeing when talking about psychological, surreal forces and magic running free-. But unlike those, I believe The Wailing has a much constant rhythm and really catches you from the start, then grows without letting you go.

Awarded with the Focus Àsia at Sitges Film Festival, this epic feast of weird supernatural mystery, with great actings by Do Won Kwak, Hwan-hee Kim (nominated for Best New Actress for this film) and japanese Jun Kunimura (Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 (2003-2004), Audition(1999)), is one of the 2016 big entertainments. Be ready to laugh and shout, you are warned!

RATE: 8/10


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