Sunday, April 23, 2017

Day 174: The Wailing

Korean and other Asian horror markets are fun to watch. Their stories are a constant tug of war in my mind between, "does this make sense or is it just a cultural thing I'm not getting?" I almost never do that with European cinema (I expect it to be less structured and more episodic than American cinema). Asian cinema has pulled off a neat trick with me over and over again where I think I am totally lost and they just beautifully tie the loose ends together. I guess I haven't figured out that Asian filmmakers seem to trust their audience more and that allows them to make bold storytelling choices.

Case in point is The Wailing. The first 45 minutes or so seem like a collection of unconnected ideas bumping into each other. There is a Japanese fisherman that all the locals think the worst of, people start going crazy and murdering each other, a woman commits suicide after wandering the streets naked...and in the center is a barely functioning police officer who is trying to take care of his little girl. Things start coming together with the arrival of a girl who might be a ghost and the officer's investigation of the Japanese man's hut, filled with Satanic artifacts.

The movie keeps twisting in on itself and what you think you know, you don't. By the end, the officer is placed in a nearly impossible position where he is asked to choose between two forces that both seem evil (or at least could be). This ultimate conundrum is why I liked the movie so much, I was 100% in the shoes of the officer, unsure who to believe when you have demons, witch doctors, ghosts and madmen roaming around.

This is a pretty long but pretty good little Korean horror film. I would recommend it.

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