7 Reasons Why “The Wailing” Is The Best Horror Movie You Have Not Seen This Year

5. Great cinematography, editing, and music

Technically the film is magnificent, with Hong Kyung-pyo’s cinematography wonderfully presenting the grotesque atmosphere in the rural surroundings of the film, while exhibiting images of bucolic beauty as much as of onerous terror, particularly inside the various houses in the area.

Furthermore, the extensive shooting in natural light gives the film an eerie essence that so suits its general atmosphere. 

Kim Sun-min’s editing is also great, retaining the agony throughout the film, while the sequencing is a work of art, particularly during the exorcism scene and the ending. Jang Young-gyu magnificently supplements the general atmosphere of the film, especially during the agonizing scenes.


6. An outstanding exorcism scene

All of the film’s aspects find their apogee in the exorcism scene, the movie’s most impressive and meaningful sequence. In terms of acting, Hwang Jung-min has the central role, presenting an exorcist performing a complicated ritual, as he dances around, killing a cock and chanting the whole time. 

Kwak Do-won wonderfully portrays his character’s agony, particularly due to the reactions of his daughter, as Kim Hwan-hee is truly terrifying screaming and kicking as if she is being killed. Jun Kunimura is also great, as he presents his character’s stress over countering the ritual.

The cinematography of the scene is extraordinary, as the difference in the two exorcisms is presented by the opposite colors (white and black) of the cocks sacrificed and the setting where they take place: the first in full light, and the second one in the darkness. Since the two rituals occur simultaneously, the editing is also masterful, as the two scenes alternate magnificently. The music, mainly produced through hand drums, heightens the tension even more.


7. Grotesqueness combined with artistry

“The Wailing” features many grotesque scenes. Cannibalism, violent killings, people acting like zombies, the terribly depicted skin infection, the cock killing ritual, and the amounts of blood all point towards an extreme horror film. The same applies to Hyo-jin’s behavior, which is very hard to watch, particularly during the ritual scene. The sequences involving the dog and the interior of the Japanese man’s house also move in the same direction.

However, Na Hong-jin manages to “hide” this grotesqueness, as the other more artful elements of the film are the ones that dominate in the end. The intricate script with the deep and meaningful allegory, the well-analyzed characters, the fitting pace, and the elaborate cinematography that presents images of extreme beauty, alongside those of extreme grotesqueness, succeed in making the film watchable by anybody.

The sporadic humor also moves in this direction, and this along with the aforementioned elements make “The Wailing” a great combination of artistry, meaningfulness, and entertainment, which even applies to fans of the extreme.

Author Bio: Panos Kotzathanasis is a film critic who focuses on the cinema of East Asia. He enjoys films from all genres, although he is a big fan of exploitation. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.