Set in a small rural village, The Wailing follows the life of local policeman Jong-goo (Kwak Do-won) and how his quiet life is turned chaotic when a ‘mystery virus’ plagues villages causing a string of violent outbursts and brutal deaths.
When meeting with friends, locals point out a connection between the deaths and the arrival of an old Japanese man living in the outskirts of village. Jong-goo dismisses the claims as hearsay until his young daughter begins to show symptoms of the virus. After a severe violent episode from his daughter, Jong-goo takes the advice of his mother-in-law and contacts a shaman for help. That should solve their problem, right?
South Korean director Hong-jin Na, the man behind hit thrillers The Chaser and The Yellow Sea – blows our minds once again with this psychological thriller, perhaps horror which really puts Kwak Do-won character through the wringer! I mean, he gets it tough, always showing up at the worst time and having all the horrible nightmarish situations land on his lap – its slightly comedic at first, then bloody torturous as the story progresses.
Overall it’s a wonderful tale, a truly dark and disturbing tale. I was refreshing to see something break the mould in Korean Cinema – I love the Park Chan Wook and the Kim Jee Won thrillers/dramas as much as the next person – but director Hong-jin Na gave us a sinister twist that stuck with me for days after. It full deserves all of the awards it is currently raking in!