The Wailing

A stranger 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.

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  • ★★★★½ review by Todd Gaines on Letterboxd

    The Wailing left me speechless in the very best kind of way. I gave up early in the movie trying to figure out exactly what was happening. I decided to enjoy the ride, and try to interpret the key plot elements on rewatches. If you think you can 100% understand this movie on one watch, you're a whole lot smarter than me.

    The Chaser, The Yellow Sea and now The Wailing. Director, Hong-jin Na is now a 3 time winner at the game of making marvelous movies. The cinematography is spectacular. The script is one insane rollercoaster of emotions. The gore. The drama. The intensity. The feeling of dread. This is a real horror movie. Nothing cheap. Nothing gimmicky. Simply, pure holy terror.

    I talk about the need for smart horror. This wins a gold medal for intellectualism. I don't want to give away too much, but there's a long extended scene of a shaman performing a ritual, that's cinematic bliss. The acting is beyond amazing. So many cool twists and turns. So many things done just right. I might've been clueless at the end, but what a ride The Wailing is! Maybe a chance for 5 stars on future rewatches. Check this one out, today!!

  • ★★★★★ review by nathaxnne walker on Letterboxd

    As parents, as friends, as partners, employees, we do the best that we can to help the ones we love in this life, to protect them against that which might hurt them, to help heal them when they are sick, to comfort them when they are in pain, to spend time with them to make them feel less alone, to let them know they are cared for, and that this care will extend throughout our time with them and beyond. That is what we hope, anyway. This world is vast beyond our understanding. Causality, and how it relates to our actions inside and outside of temporality, functions in ways we can only begin to dimly grasp. There is a limit to what we can do, there is also a limit to the extent to which we can perceive the effects of what we have done. When we act from fear, from panic, out of love, we don't always make the best decisions for ourselves or our loved ones. We cannot always fulfill the roles with which we have been entrusted in the manner we would like. Sometimes the world we know goes on in spite of our ignorance and our flailing about, and sometimes it goes completely awry even when we try our best and our hardest to make things turn out ok. It is not always possible to tell which is what at any given moment while it seems to be in progress, but always seems inevitable, as if it never could have happened any other way in hindsight. This is a function of limited perspective, one which perceives time and causality as linear, but as we are now, it is very difficult to see it any other way, and if that would do us any good even if we were capable of doing so is impossible to say. Every state or condition in which we find ourselves and those we love is the aftermath of a prior set of states and conditions superimposed or one translated into the next, inexorably. Divination is a set of tools about space as well as time. YOU ARE HERE, which is all well and good if there is a map and someone hasn't scraped off the arrow with a fingernail or the edge of a coin or obscured it with a decal or something. A kind of sonar or echolocation or a mapping of landmarks onto correspondences rather than the other way around. Still we are stumbling around in the dark more often than not, terrible at reading maps, half-listening to the GPS voice that is putting us to sleep or blending in with the radio or with other voices in the car. We mistake one landmark for another and get turned around, or even forget who we are, who we love, and get the whole of it confused. These consequences can be the sort which are tragic and irredeemable or they may be the kind we laugh about in a few hours, or relate breathlessly, our voices still shaking with adrenaline, once everything has recollected itself into memory, faded from the present. Some things persist over time, over space, even after themselves, in our hearts and minds, or outside of them, sometimes they are ghosts, sometimes we don't know what they are. Sometimes that not knowing is ok. Sometimes it is not. We can't know until we come up upon it, or even after, and then we remember or we think I should have done x or y or Thank Goodness! or we become lost to the future, persistent and unchanging in time, looped in past catastrophe, the past catastrophe that is always someone else's present, someone else's future, in which we play the role of ghosts, no matter how solid we might seem, and hope not to fail at that too.

  • ★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd

    One of the absolutely craziest of all South Korean films. And if you know Korean cinema, you know that's saying something. Also features what's probably one of the best child performances I've ever seen.

  • ★★★★★ review by YI JIAN on Letterboxd

    Roosters and ravens as pawns in this supernatural game of chess. Na Hong-Jin's response to Robert Egger's VVitch is a bloodier and edgier story drenched in unalduterated paranoia. The only wailing you'll hear are from the audience subjected to two hours of emotional torment. It's been a while and I forgot how devastating these South Korean thrillers can get, The Wailing has been a brutal reminder.

    Gripping and weirdly enchanting despite being absolutely terrifying. Will be thinking about this for-- well, forever I guess.

  • ★★★★★ review by Wood on Letterboxd

    I'd like to thank South Korea for single-handedly keeping cinema alive in a year when no one else even seems interested in making good films.

    I've watched a lot of movies in my life, and it's rare to find a movie that I can't guess the ending before the third act. The Wailing keeps you guessing for it's preposterous run time, and a part of me never wanted it to end.

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