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Director: Na Hong-jin
The Wailing is a suspenseful, atmospheric supernatural thriller that rivals The Exorcist. Korean director Na Hong-jin will have you not only question your faith, regardless of your belief, but also the meaning of good and evil.
The film revolves around Hyo-Jin, an oafish police officer living in a small Korean village with his young daughter. A brutal murder kicks off the story, where a kind and loving man slaughters his wife and young children with a kitchen knife. The man is found clearly unwell, suffering from rashy skin and speaking in tongues, and the police pass it off as the man having eaten the wrong wild mushrooms—until similar murders start to plague the village.
Upon investigating the events, Hyo-Jin’s daughter becomes increasingly violent and demonic omens, such as dead crows and terribly afflicting night terrors, begin to manifest in her home.
At the same time, rumours have started to spread about a mysterious Japanese resident living in the foothills above the village. What connection does he have to the victims?
Though the start of this film is funny and lighthearted, using subtle comedy and family dynamics to advance your connection with the characters, Hong-Jin soon turns it on its head as tragedy, suspicion, and paranoia start to ravage the police officer’s family.
The film draws on religious elements from traditional Korean shamanism and Christian exorcism to shape a world in which the director has full control of what you feel and believe. Filled with subtle “blink and you’ll miss it” type clues that’ll keep you guessing throughout; Hong-Jin has created a film that is as gripping and mysterious as one can get. At three hours, The Wailing is an absolute epic that will not only have you glued to your seat, but will stay with you for weeks as you try to decipher its meaning.