Thursday, 5 January 2017
KOREAN MOVIE REVIEW: THE WAILING (ADVANCED REVIEW)
The Wailing (Advanced Review)
Released By: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Running Time: 156 Mins
Audio: Korean Language w/English Subs
Release Date: 30/1/2017
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes
A series of strange and bloody murders in a quiet village set tongues wagging as to who might have done them, leading to the locals believing that a lone Japanese man who has recently moved into the area might be responsible.
Outbreaks of madness and other occurrences catch the eye of Jong-goo, a village police officer who starts to think his daughter might be under the Japanese man's influence too. As he has to investigate the murders, he is shocked by what horrors he sees, bodies mutilated for what looks like pleasure, even ritualistic slaughter and, dare I say devil worship mingle to give Jong-goo the idea there is a serious serial killer around who could kill again.
When a woman comes to him after his investigation on a local murder scene, she tells him of a person who enlisted the help of a local shaman to drive out an evil spirit. He thinks he might have to go get one himself if he wants his daughter to go back to normal.
The Exorcist is the sort of Western horror movie that viewers saw in the 70s and has had a new TV series made of it. The Wailing is, from what I can gather a Korean version of it where several killings are being investigated and the problems in the village can all be traced back to one person, a Japanese man who acts strange toward everyone around him, secluding himself from others unless he has to kill. Then, he searches for his prey almost naked and sporting deep red eyes that only serve to make him look more demonic.
The story is simple, but there is an overwhelming darkness about this movie despite the early comedic scenes. Jong-goo seems like a normal police officer going about his job. He has a good home life with wife and daughter, but the further he delves into the murder cases, the more he thinks they are the work of someone truly evil. As his daughter deteriorates into sheer madness, he brings along a shaman he thinks can help bring his family back to normal, but in doing so, he only makes her situation worse.
The Wailing is one of the most successful horror movies to come out of South Korea since The Host, I Saw the Devil and Train to Busan. It took over $50 million dollars in South Korea alone, proving that Asian cinema is better than ever with haunting scenes, flesh-chewing ghouls and a sinister stranger, plus harrowing scenes with a possessed teen who also has a foul mouth that mirrors Regan MacNeill in The Exorcist. What gives the movie more of an air of believability is Jong-goo's character who wanders around trying to find solutions to what seem like impossible tasks, finding the killer and saving his own daughter as well as helping the village get back to something like everyday again. It is creepy at times and gory when it needs to shock (and it does) with blood and gore in full force most of the way through.
Bonus Material: None.
Summary: Dark, creepy with an air of deep despair running through it, this is Asian cinema at its darkest.