The Wailing (2016)

Original Title

곡성 Gokseoung


Fantasy | Horror | Mystery | Thriller


Na Hong-jin


South Korea


Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Jun Kunimura, Chun Woo-hee, Kim Hwan-hee, Her Jin, Jang So-yeon, Kim Do-yoon, Son Kang-gook, Park Seong-gyeong, Kil Chang-gyoo, Jean Bae-soo


As a Japanese (Jun Kunimura) arrives in a little village, a mystery sickness starts spreading, and a policeman (Kwak Do-won) is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter (Kim Hwan-hee).


I haven't seen a lot of Korean movies, but until now I loved them all. This is the first time I felt somewhat disappointed. Why? Koreans are famous for making creepy and scary horrors, and, while it is an enjoyable and entertaining film, I wouldn't suggest The Wailing to someone looking for a good horror because it isn't that scary.

More of a supernatural tale with a little horror and some dark comedy, the story involves ghosts, possessions and other stuff of this kind, but comes off as very original and requires a lot of attention from the viewer. In fact, even a few missed details could "compromise" the understanding of the story and its ambiguous ending.

However, is that complexity of the story and the mystery elements that keep the viewer glued to the screen until the very end, and it's very likely to find yourself trying to solve this sinister case like Jong-goo, the sympathetic main character. And even when you think you have it all sorted out, another twist comes and leads you in a different direction. 

That's what makes this film so interesting, because, like I've mentioned earlier, the film isn't scary. Most of the time, people wailing are supposed to be scary, but unfortunately that didn't work for me. 

Also giving the film an extra kick is the comedy. While it certainly isn't a comedy, The Wailing features a dark, eccentric sense of humour that perfectly fits the film. Even though in the second part it becomes more slapstick and it doesn't really work.

Something I can't complain about is the running time. Honestly, I was scared to death when I saw the film was 2 hours and 36 minutes long, but time flew. And the credits also go to the beautiful scenery and setting, and the cast. For the exception of some overacted scenes, the acting is strong, especially from the child actor. Which isn't much of a child actor actually since she is 14. 

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