The Wailing

The Wailing ★★★★½

The Wailing is often called supernatural horror, or compared to the Exorcist but I think it's much more ambitious than that. This dark and challenging film is an examination of evil and faith. Evil is not simple. It is not black and white. It won't tell you the truth. It won't tell you what it is. It will expose the flaws of weak men and bend them to its will. It will use fear and confusion to isolate and corrupt the innocent, and is unstoppable without faith to fight it. Following on from his earlier two films; Na Hong-jin's The Wailing is often ambiguous and hard to really pin down. I think it is his strongest film so far. Technically the film is amazing. The cinematography is stunning; underpinned by a low key but ominous score. All the cast deliver fine performances (especially Kwak Do-won as the heavily flawed lead character!) The narrative includes plenty of comedy and gore on top of the deeper themes. It's a real slow burn and the compelling story builds apace to a pressure cooker in the final third. The ending is pure nihilism. It may be dissatisfying to some and certainly there is no definite conclusion to the narrative...but therein lies the point I think.

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