THE WAIL­ING

You may wail with con­fu­sion

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 25 NOVeM­Ber 15 | 156 min­utes | also VOd

Di­rec­tor Hong-jin Na Cast do Won Kwak, Jung-min Hwang, Jun Ku­nimura

If you’d hap­pily never watch a Catholic ex­or­cism rit­ual again, here’s some good news: this Korean pos­ses­sion hor­ror pro­vides a lit­tle va­ri­ety by draw­ing on a dif­fer­ent cul­tural tra­di­tion.

Af­ter a string of bru­tal fam­ily mur­ders by vil­lage folk who’ve sud­denly gone vi­o­lently in­sane, sus­pi­cion falls upon a new­comer – a Ja­panese man. Could he be lay­ing curses? When the daugh­ter of neb­bish cop Jong-Goo (Do Won Kwak) starts do­ing her best Linda Blair im­pres­sion, he de­cides to set due process aside…

The com­i­cally in­ef­fec­tual Jong-Goo makes for an un­usual pro­tag­o­nist, dis­play­ing flashes of pro­tec­tive fury once his fam­ily comes un­der threat, but al­ways re­main­ing a bit pa­thetic. The se­quences fea­tur­ing the pranc­ing shaman he calls in are fas­ci­nat­ingly colour­ful. And there’s an in­ter­est­ing sub­text about xeno­pho­bia, pos­si­bly.

How­ever, you may be left be­wil­dered by the head­scratch­ing fi­nal reel, which af­ter pulling the rug from un­der your feet then tries to slide it back un­der them again, be­fore fi­nally whip­ping you about the head with it, leav­ing it un­clear ex­actly what mes­sage the film is try­ing to con­vey. See you on the IMDb dis­cus­sion threads… Calvin Bax­ter

“I need some fur­ni­ture – now!”

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