Comedic elements were added to make the foreboding length and symbolic direction more bearable. The tiny nuances of cultural differences that make these types of movies unique also add a strong amount of personality to the story. Situations from ‘The Exorcist’, ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Prisoners’, ‘Contagion’ do come to mind, but the film is a beast in itself. I’ll mention more of them whenever they relate to my observations. The Spiritual Characters of the Wailing Movie Explained. This short character break-down is the easiest way to understand what happened at a base level. I particularly loved Jong-goo's average Joe responses to most situations that occur in the first half while slowly building towards obsession and darkness. Jong-Goo's called to the scene of a vicious and bloody murder. Both characters, though, like the Japanese stranger, are poised perfectly on the line between good and evil: we may be led to believe one thing about each of them, but then Na Hong-jin interjects a scene, a shot, that casts doubt on our belief. She was protecting Jong-goo’s family all along, but once Jong-goo sinned (by committing murder), she wasn’t able to help him explicitly. Was it that very mundane human suspicion of someone who was not “Us” that unleashed the powerful forces of disease, violence, and supernatural malevolence? Covered in a blistering rash he has the blood from the victims on himself and within the house. A policeman, drawn into the incident, is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter. Or the scene where the devil quotes Jesus. That would make the female shaman/ghost, Moo-myeong (translates as ‘no name’), the resident spirit (good or evil depending on her mood). Although he is of Christian faith, he questioned his beliefs and felt the need to write about the why's when it comes to death. Six years in the making, with such attention to detail, perfect casting (kudos to the freakishly brilliant child actor), spellbinding background score and sound editing, jaw-droppingly good cinematography (which makes even death look beautiful), and crisp editing, Na Hong-Jin has made one of the best horror movies of 21st century, one that truly evokes horror even in the mind of a non-believer. I did like that it's more reliant on the gesture of tiny clues and character development to worry about requiring gore. The devil-reveal scene would seem to imply that racism makes targeted people seem like monsters. From time-to-time, Jong-goo calls her names and tells her to go away. The film is a perfect example of selection/confirmation bias; it demonstrates the mind’s ability to perceive “truth” in nearly anything. The only time he’s seen performing a ritual was to counter her spell (on the zombie). No-name squats down and throws a heap of rocks that accumulate in a scattered pile around the two. It also explores how legends, stories and personal experiences shape the way we think about the world around us and informs our actions. His first two films, for which he also wrote the screenplay, are thriller / action films, The Chaser (2008) and The Yellow Sea (2010). So complex this film. Na drives that terrifying thought right through our minds; it even brings morality into question. The Wailing does also include themes on Buddhism and Korean Shamanism too. The film at first suggests an epidemic, perhaps of unnatural origin (evoking certain incarnations of the zombie film)—although the camera lingers on a strange plant above the doorway and mushrooms are also hinted at as a culprit. ii) The Jap and Il-Gwang, both are shamans under the control of an evil spirit. Even the mushrooms allude to the highly-debated psychedelic origins of Christianity (related to early traditions, fertility rites, etc.)

How can you be so sure without seeing for yourself?”. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The swear-words raining out of his mouth in just about every scenario were wonderful. The mystery erupts when Jong-Goo is called to a crime scene early in the morning and discovers that a man has inexplicably killed his family. Read More. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The Wailing’s Brilliant Ambiguity. Answer: No, but the director drew from life experiences in the underlying meaning behind some of the film’s themes. There are several different characters in this story we need to understand, and once we do, all should be clear. (the film’s initial Bible quote) Is it good disguised as evil, or was it evil disguised as good all along? Or does it lead you down the path the priest seems to go—possibly conjuring the devil where he was not? The father-daughter relationship and its inherent helplessness, and the loss of innocence are explored in a heartbreaking way. The Wailing is, finally, all about faith: the woman tells Jong-Goo he has to have faith in her, that faith is the only way he can save his family. The Japanese stranger’s implication in the strange violence plaguing the village seems so assured that one reviewer has written that, while, at first, Na Hong-jin seems to suggest that the “town’s seemingly collective xenophobia is misguided,” it then “confirms it is not, which gives this otherwise ingenious probe of religion and superstition an unfortunate taint of isolationist propaganda.”[i]  I disagree. Soon after a stranger arrives in a little village, a mysterious sickness starts spreading. At one point after shouting, she even mumbles, “You don’t even know what’s important.” taking horror seriously so you don't have to,, Game Horror, Circle (2015), and Lifeboat Ethics, Tech Horror During Covid: 8 Classic Films, Dark Economies: Anxious Futures, Fearful Pasts – Conference CFP, Relic Brilliantly Portrays the Horror of Dementia, Viewer Participation and Decision Making in Would You Rather (2012), A Frendo in Need: Talking Clown in a Cornfield, Stranger by the Lake and Subtractive Spectatorship. They rely on the various available beliefs to make sense of what’s going on and try to cope with them. Stories linking a Japanese man living in the mountains of the village begin to circulate and occurrences of others with the same rash followed by more murderous scenes begin to mount. After they "killed" him the damage was done, but they were offered redemption through putting their faith in 'god' or the woman. The wailing explained The Wailing was the third installment from one of my favorite Korean directors, Na Hong Jin, and was by far the most enjoyable for me. Or it was God himself, outraged at the deacon’s misjudgement.]. It is often that Korean and Japanese writers add religious aspects to their films, be they horror, drama or action.

Jong-Goo, indeed, went easily down the path of blaming the Japanese stranger for everything. No matter how many times one re-watches the film and studies the scenes, there just isn’t enough information for one to firmly assert a singular conclusion. They go from place to place, curse people, possess their souls and offer it to the devil. Indeed, everything at the end of the film is beautifully shaped to cast doubt on everything we think we might know. In the opening scene, The Jap uses two hooks for the worm (bait), symbolizing the two are working together. We’ll also be offering “Top 10 Lists” if you’re looking for something to watch! And to set the atmosphere, though CSI is mentioned, modern science is deliberately kept outside of the film’s environment. The third feature film of South Korean director Na Hong-jin, The Wailing (Goksung) is his first foray into the horror genre. The ordeal Jong-goo goes through is an elaborate test of faith and morals, like the way Job is tested in the Bible.

The film starts off deceptively simple, with bumbling cops solving unusual murders in a rain-drenched town (not unlike the premise of ‘Memories of Murder’). It made me smile from time to time. Movie still for The Wailing, I have no idea what kind of person you are to watch my film. The characters are engaging. But so does the shaman, whom he talks to on the phone. Is he really the cause of all the bloodshed within the small village? iv) All three are powerful ghosts in their own right (a blend of God and Devil). The simultaneous exorcism scene (one of the best shown in films) shows how similar good and evil look (just the colour of the sacrificial animals were different). When he ignored her warning and returned to the house he failed and then in turn received his judgement. Both are shown to be scared of Moo-myeong.