Movie Review: The Wailing (2016)

I first heard this movie when Yoo Jaesuk was indirectly promoting it on Infinite Challenge and Running Man many episodes ago. Lately, I’ve been marathon-ing the episodes of 2 Days 1 Night, and when I reached the episode where they went to Gokseong, I knew I had to watch the movie. I hurriedly searched the trailer of ‘The Wailing‘ and it earned my approval. In just a few minutes, I was already watching it, on my room, alone, late at night, with the lights off.

Gokseong was a place, and I have no idea if its literal meaning is wailing or something synonymous. It started off with a clear story line, that there were unexplained murders going on around their little town and our main character Jong Goo (Kwak Dowon) has no idea why they were happening. He meets Moo Myeong (Joon Woohee) in one of the crime scenes, throwing stonesss at him at first then tells the events of the crime scene afterwards. From then on, he had his suspicions on the Japanese stranger (played by Jun Kunimura) who lives alone on the mountains. Days passed and Jong Goo’s daughter Hyojin (Kim Hwanhee) got sick, with the same symptoms as the past victims whose families are all dead. Jong Goo’s mother-in-law thinks that Hyojin needs spiritual help so they called a shaman named Il Gwang who said that Hyojin is possessed by an evil spirit (who he told Jong Goo later on that the evil spirit was Moo Myeong).  Jong Goo puts the blame on the Japanese man at first, and began assaulting him to make him leave the town. The shaman began performing rituals that was physically hurting Hyojin making them believe that it was driving away the ghost. On their last night it was found out that Moo Myeong was not the evil spirit but instead the ghost that was protecting the small town from the real demon which was the Japanese man (Il Gwang was actually a demon accomplice).

Moo Myeong tried to save Jong Goo’s family (that explains the flowers) but our main character has very little faith in her and still suspects her (due to Il Gwang’s influence), even when she was explaining her side to him. Despite Moo Myeong’s persuasion for Jong Goo not to return to his house before the rooster crows for the 3rd time, Jong Goo did not obey and hurriedly went home, and he saw the bodies of his wife and mother-in-law lying dead on the floor, their blood spilled everywhere on the kitchen. His daughter Hyojin was stood behind him waiting and all Jong Goo could do is cry at her before he was killed by his own daughter.

My expectations of this movie were different to what I achieved after I watched it, but it wasn’t a bad thing. I thought I was going to scream and be surprised in some of the scenes instead I was being intrigued about the eerieness of the plot. It reminded me of the movie ‘Tale of the Two Sisters’. The storyline was like ‘Train to Busan‘ meets ‘Sinister‘ (an American film) where in the end one family member kills his/her family because of one demon. Now I realize why South Koreans were totally obssessed with ‘The Wailing’.

The ending still got me confused up to now. How come the demon was trying to flee (looking scared) when he saw Jong Goo and friends being attacked by some zombie? That scene totally got me fooled and I thought for a second that maybe the Japanese man was innocent after all. And what was the connection of all the victims to the demon? How were they chosen to be possessed? I first realized that Moo Myeong wasn’t really bad ghost at the time when Il Gwang desperately wanted to leave the town already but there was something that wanted him to stay (the road scene), but how does Moo Myeong save the people anyway?

Horror movies doesn’t have to make you jump in surprise or make you scream for the thrill, sometimes the horror lies on the plot itself. Storylines like this one leaves you a dissatisfying ending instead, because the good seldom wins in the end.

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