WATCH: SOUTH KOREAN HORROR-THRILLER ‘THE WAILING’ TRAILER UNNERVES, WETS PANTS
Well… I think I just pissed myself.
Following acclaimed thrillers like ‘The Chaser’ and ‘The Yellow Sea’, promising director and expert at terrifying-audiences-everywhere Na Hong-jin returns with ‘The Wailing’ (or ‘Gokseong’).
When a mysterious illness fatally infects the inhabitants of a once tranquil village, nobody knows what to do and everybody blames the Japanese guy.
Through a haunting soundtrack and the solemn half-whisper of the voice over, the trailer teases a crying woman being carried out and a patient thrashing about on his hospital bed.
We are introduced to the main character (Kwak Do-won), whose daughter begins to show symptoms of this epidemic: a voracious appetite, boils on her stomach and uncontrollable seizures and/or demonic possession. Seriously. Just look at her stony glare, this kid is possessed.
The father then meets with a surprisingly stylish shaman (Hwang Jung-min), who believes “there are spirits in the house” and proceeds to smash open a ceramic pot, revealing a dead crow.
Eventually, the daughter goes missing and what follows is a brilliant montage of the ensuring chaos and insanity, with religious symbolism scattered throughout, a shot of a black dog barking, a frenzied man dancing around a fire, a half naked man with scratches all over his back in the woods, and a lot of blood. Damn.
There’s something so refreshing about Korean horror that is missing from much of its Hollywood counterparts. Whether it be masterful storytelling, understanding of suspense and the psychology behind fear, or the originality of its films. That’s not to say that the themes explored in ‘The Wailing’ are in themselves ground-breaking, with its suggestions of possible ethnic tensions, scapegoating and mass hysteria, but they seem to go beyond cheap scare tactics to deliver something worth watching.
After all, there’s no denying Korean horror is infinitely scarier.