December 13, 2016

The Wailing

Hong-jin Na, 2016
Some people will probably say the Wailing is like a Korean Exorcist but they shouldn't. That marginalizes what is one of the better horror films to come out in the past ten years. What is true is that there are elements of possession in this film that center around a young girl. But it's a bigger story. A story that involves an entire community. A demonic force that has taken hold of a Korean village. The desperation of the affected family is totally compelling and completely gripping.

Asian cinema has an ability to really focus on the dynamics of a family. This is probably because of the cultural differences between the Eastern world and the Western world. The Eastern world tends to hold their family more dearly, less of a focus on oneself. Grandparents tend to be around much more than they are in Western culture, as also shown in this film where the grandmother plays a very active role in Hyo-Jin's life.

This is a film where the mystery and uncertainty builds all the way to the end. The Wailing doesn't rely on cheap jump scares. It relies on character development and pursuit. Pursuit of a bunch of things. Justice, answers, remedy. By the end you certainly get what you need as a viewer. Hopefully this film gets some of the attention it deserves in foreign cinema this year.

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