Beka P., Here…
I was prepared to say that “The Wailing” was the worst movie I had seen in a while, but I saw “The Lobster” today so never mind that. Once all was said and done with this two and a half hour Korean subtitled film, I actually didn’t hate it. Would I see it again? No. Do I wish I had my time back? Pretty much, yeah, but at the same time, this is the kind of film I would never choose to watch in the first place. So, with that caveat, if you are a fan of Hong-jin Na’s previous films (“The Chaser” and “The Yellow Sea”), or if you are into the exorcism/zombie suspense genre then by all means this film is probably for you.
My main beef with the movie was that Na spent an incredibly long time getting to the heart of the film. The plot centers around a village that is experiencing mysterious and heinous deaths amongst its residents. The lead is played by Do Won Kwak, who plays a police officer in the town. While he is somewhat interested in the strange sickness that leads to the killings, he doesn’t become invested until the disease takes hold of his young daughter. At this point he sets out to discover what is causing the sickness and vows to eradicate whatever or whomever it is from the town.
Enter the mysterious stranger who lives on the outskirts of town, played by Jun Kunimura. While you go through the movie not knowing whether the stranger is to be trusted or feared, there are multiple other story lines that are woven throughout that cause some plot jumping and drag time. The film really picks up in the last hour when many of the plot lines come together in a suspenseful race to save the little girl.
There are redeeming aspects of the film. The performances by Kwak and the young girl are strong. The young girl in particular vacillates from sweet to possessed in such a believable manner, it’s like it’s actually happening. Additionally, the cinematography is lovely. The shots of the village, the countryside and a pretty intense scene of an attempted exorcism were just breathtaking. But buyer beware, on the flip side of the coin, there are many gruesome and hard to view images as well.
This isn’t a film I would watch at night or with kids unless you’re prepared for at least a couple nightmares. Also, spoiler alert: animal death. If you are on board for all of the above: check out “The Wailing” because I promise it’s not the worst movie in the world… that’s The Lobster.
FOR FANS OF THE HORROR/THRILLER GENRE!