When the arrival of a strange Japanese man (Jun Kunimura) in a South Korean town coincides with a number of strange and brutal murders the bumbling chief of police (Do-Won Kwak) takes it upon himself to investigate. However he will quickly find out that he has bitten off far more than he or the whole town can chew.
The Wailing is that kind of really interesting Horror movie that really doesn’t subscribe at all to the traditional horror movie tropes. It takes all the time it needs and more to set up characters and settings, to the point that if you didn’t already know it was a horror going into it, half an hour through you’d probably just think it was a kind of low key political family drama about this one slightly bumbling chief of police. It actually starts off pretty light hearted and Do-Won Kwak is very funny to start with. Of course shit does eventually hit the fan and oh boy does it pay off.
The Wailing is a long movie sitting at around two and a half hours, but it does use that length entirely. It sort of smoothly transitions between tones and genres throughout the runtime all the while building tension and pushing the boundaries of what you will believe. But the film takes enough time and care over characters that no matter how far the film pushes you, you always go with it.
At the centre of the film and one of the main reasons it works so well is Do-Won Kwak whose performance initially seems predominantly comic in his ineptitude, but as the drama unfolds this becomes less and less comic and more tragic. You see the story play out through his eyes and feel all of his pain. It’s truly wonderful performance and one that cements the movie as one of the best horror movies of recent years.
If I have one niggle it’s that the film is slightly overlong. But don’t get me wrong compared to The Conjuring 2 this moves past like a breeze. I really would recommend that you seek this one out.