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897 Ratings

The Wailing

곡성 | Gokseong

Directed by Na Hong-jin
South Korea, 2016
Drama, Thriller, Horror


In a village, a detective (Kwak Do-won) and a shaman (Hwang Jung-min) seek to investigate a mysterious rumor that continues to spread.

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The Wailing Directed by Na Hong-jin
For two and a half gripping hours, Hong-jin Na holds the viewer in the sweaty palm of his hand in telling his endlessly inventive tale of possession, murder, and the occult. One of the year’s best horror films, this Korean supernatural policier cum domestic drama (with a little zombie flick thrown in) builds to an unforgettable conclusion, with imagery designed to haunt dreams.
January 16, 2017
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The film’s byzantine plot keeps spiraling out of control at regular intervals. What Na’s got, though, is a knack for the sorts of sticky, lingering images that can make a wildly uneven film feel hugely unnerving: an early dream sequence featuring a bestial, red-eyed old man feeding on a deer is the sort of thing that can lodge in one’s memory banks.
December 22, 2016
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There are some absolutely dazzling sequences, most notably a shamanistic ritual attempting to cure the cop’s daughter of her possession, where Na’s ability to cross-cut and create a hypnotic rhythm while also amplifying the tension and horror is truly remarkable. Also, the story is able to draw on both Christian and traditionally Korean shamanistic traditions and combine them with the history of Japanese colonialism to create its morbid atmosphere.
December 14, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • mpho3's rating of the film The Wailing

    Despite being a brilliant distillation on the nature of evil, including xenophobia, overall The Wailing is confusing and way too long. I could have done without the first hour entirely. It got better and more focused as the buffoonery waned. I enjoyed the mashup of genres and the mix of shamanism, demonism, and Catholicism because in truth they don't seem that removed from each other.

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film The Wailing

    Too long (250min) & confusing possession story. Too bad because "Chaser" & "Yellow Sea", by the same author, were totally exciting. Better re-watch "The Exorcist" or Wes CRAVEN's "Serpent & The Rainbow". == Confusion & Grand Guignol vienent gâcher cette interminable histoire de possession. Dommage car "Chaser" & "Murderer", du même auteur étaient bluffant. Mieux vaut revoir L'Exorciste ou "The Serpent & The Rainbow".

  • HenriqueA's rating of the film The Wailing

    Bloated, overlong and lacking focus, but still amazing. The director of the hardboiled masterpiece The Chaser goes all in into religion, folklore, racism and shamans and shit and you just have to go with it. Maybe it would've been a better watching experience as mini-series or something, but it is still a must watch experience.

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film The Wailing

    The best kind of horror movie. One with comedy and no jump scares. Extra points for being genuinely creepy. After reading a lot of explanations I tend to think that your interpretation may have something to with your theology. I think xenophobia is a big problem, so I see that as an explanation for a lot that's going on. Kind of a global problem.

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film The Wailing

    Shades of both William Friedkin and David Lynch imprint "The Wailing," the new film from Na Hong-jin (director of stellar genre efforts "The Chaser" and "The Yellow Sea"). But unlike Lynch's "Twin Peaks," the movie fails to strike a balance between off-kilter comedy and pitch-black horror. Instead, our protagonist comes across as a bumbling oaf plopped down in the middle of a staggeringly long tale of spiritual evil.

  • Palmat's rating of the film The Wailing

    One of the best movies this year! What starts out like a police procedural soon becomes a different beast entirely when a supernatural force grips the quaint rural town where the lush greenery becomes a place where evil poisons the living and drives the bumbling cop protagonist towards the edge of madness. And the end is a heartwrenching gutpunch that will make you reel. A truly magnificent and horrifying film!

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film The Wailing

    In a compelling, thought-provoking battle between the real and the spiritual, a brooding tale of folklore contours emerges. Powered by a restless atmosphere, Jin never loses control over his impeccable storytelling, slowly deconstructing, in grounded fashion, notions of faith gained and faith lost.

  • Tigrão's rating of the film The Wailing

    A little bit of mess, but with the director is a the top of his form, it's difficult not to stare at it with fascination. The Wailing serves as a brilliant metaphor for Good vs Evil, and as a deeply unnerving ghost story.

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