Earlier this week we looked at an amazing horror film produced in South Korea – Train to Busan. Tonight brings us another Korean flick that came out the same year, The Wailing. At first glance this movie does not seem to be as flashy as Train to Busan but looks can be deceiving and this one is definitely worth a look. In fact, I would say that horror fans really should give this one a chance because it is paced so differently than what we see from Hollywood movies. Because it is a fairly recent film from 2016, I will not go into too much detail about the plot so expect this to be a relatively short post.
The Wailing is set within a small Korean village; it seems that the villagers are being savagely murdered and a police officer (who does not seem to take his job too seriously) is dispatched to investigate the killings. The killer is found soon enough but he appears to have been blinded and his body is covered in ugly welts. The next week brings more killings and in each case the murderer is found with the same physical abnormalities. The authorities and the press try to pass off these incidents as the effects of eating a certain mushroom but the villagers say these acts can be attributed to a Japanese man who recently arrived and is living in the forest outside of the village. An investigation of the stranger’s home shows a large collection of gruesome photos and that he is connected to a bizarre demon. Shortly afterwards the cop’s daughter begins suffering from seizures and could end up becoming the next killer.
And… well, at this point the film becomes chaotic. Very chaotic. I am reluctant to give any more details about the plot because it would take away from your experience of being caught up in the whirlwind of bloody horror.
The Wailing is a tale of demonic possession loosely based on religions actually practiced in Korea. What sets this film apart (aside from the visuals) is the pacing. Unlike The Conjuring, this movie does not spend a lot of time establishing the real and mundane world before breaking out the gore and demonic activity. Quite the opposite; The Wailing is a constant pace of uncomfortable visuals. Even the relatively quiet and non-gory scenes are rainy with the characters soaked to the bone and filthy with mud.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Wailing to supernatural horror fans but keep in mind that it can be a bit too intense for mainstream movie fans.