Sunday Matinee: The Wailing

Jong-goo (Do-won Kwak) is a police officer in a small village and lives with his wife, young daughter and mother-in-law. Jong-goo is woken up and called for duty because a woman has died in the village. Upon arriving the scene it’s actually a gruesome double homicide and the killer is a catatonic blood soaked man who was caught at the scene of the crime.

It seems that there have been a lot of gruesome murders in the town lately. Jong-goo buddy and fellow police officer tells him that folks think that it’s all caused by the arrival of a Japanese man (Jun Kunimura) who is living outside the town. He also tells him that a friend of his saw the Japanese man running around in the woods, naked except a loin cloth feeding on deer like an animal. Jong-goo doesn’t believe the story and both men are startled by a naked woman standing in the doorway of the police station. She disappears when they go look.

The next day another murder occurs. This time three family members were killed by the woman they saw the night before. While guarding the crime scene Jong-goo encounters a strange woman in white (Woo-hee Chun). She throws stones at him and then tells him about how the family there died. She tells him that the Japanese man isn’t alive but a ghost and that he’s looking to drink his victims blood. Jong-goo thens has a vision/dream of the Japanese man attacking him.

Jong-goo starts think that there is something to all the stories. People who attack their family members all seem to get a rash before they start acting weird. The doctors can’t seem to figure it out. Jong-goo decides to seek out the Japanese man with the help of his partner. They find the man who saw the Japanese man eating deer in the woods and get him to take them to where the Japanese man lives. An accident happens and they have to go back. Jong-goo decides to go again and his partner brings along his nephew who is a training Catholic priest who can also speak Japanese. Around this time Jong-goo’s daughter starts to fall ill.

Writer/director Hong-jin Na has crafted an excellent tale of horror. The movie is almost comical at the beginning of the movie. Jong-goo is kind of an incompetent and cowardly police officer. He’s cheating on his wife when his daughter finds out and he bribes her not to talk. But as Jong-goo continues to investigate and then try and save his daughter things get darker, more serious and horrifying. The movie is a little philosophical than most movies but to discuss that would give away too much of the plot. The Wailing isn’t the most horrifying movie out there. In fact the actually scares are decent but at times sparse, the film is more concerned with the story it’s telling but it’s pretty good movie, one that makes you think a little after it’s over.

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