The Wailing review by Bobby Blakey
Well Go USA continues to bring the best in Asian cinema to the US featuring not only martial arts epics, but also some of the darker corners of their films. One the best reviewed films getting a lot of hype is director Hong-jin Na’s The Wailing and now you have the chance to bring it home.
The Wailing follows a stranger that arrives in a little village and soon after a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman is drawn into the incident and is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter. This was one of those films that had received a ton of positive hype, but I tried to keep my mind open and not buy into it because most of the time you are let down. Thankfully here that is not that case. This is an excellent horror thriller that has so many layers you might have to watch it more than once to see all the nuances it creates. The story starts out as a murder mystery showcasing some gruesome murders that leave more questions than answers. From this opening sequence you are instantly intrigued to where they are taking the story and it does not disappoint. As the story progresses there is an injection of some interesting character study of the lead character’s family struggles and often incompetence as an officer. As everything begins to unfold there are so many layers to all those involved and things happening that will keep you guessing and engrossed with every aspect of it all. The entire cast offer up great performances that are powerful and thought provoking and at times a bit unnerving.
The second half of the film takes it into a whole new level as people begin to become unhinged and a Shaman is brought into the mix in hopes to reveal the truth and stop it once and for all. It’s from here on out that it takes the film into a direction similar to the Exorcist, but the ritual here is way more elaborate and intense. The film never gets really scary, but it does offer up some gore and bizarre behavior that works to perfection for the story they are telling. For those that truly believe in possession this section of the film will no doubt really affect you. They have perfectly captured an intense nature to the pure evil they are trying to fight off. The pure pain and suffering they are going through is enough to keep you engrossed until the painful ending, but the twists and direction of it all will no doubt have a lasting impression.
In the end if you are a fan of this genre then this is a must see film. I can see how this film may not click for some and might even confuse others with the ending, but you have to look past what you think you are seeing and allow it to tell its story. It is an engaging effective piece of horrific family drama that manages to deliver on every level.