The Wailing (2016)
So I was looking for something to see tonight, because we have a few movies to catch this week and our days fill up pretty quick. Mondays tend to be sorta slow, so we had a couple options of things that were playing all week here. I noticed this Korean horror film, and checked on Rotten Tomatoes to see if anyone cared. It had 100% from critics and 89% from audiences, which shocked me. So even though this movie is over 2 and a half hours long, we decided to make our way down to see it.
First, a bit about the trip to the theater. It was playing at IFC Center in NYC, which is not ridiculously far from us, and we can drive there pretty quick if the traffic isn't too bad. I was running a tiny bit late, so my girlfriend went to get the car and meet me outside. I let the dogs out to pee quickly, and then waited outside for her. For some reason this was taking longer than expected, and I was thinking we might have to see another movie tonight. She eventually showed up, some construction site had blocked her in and she had to move a bunch of shit to get the car out. So we rush up there, and the only parking we can find right away is metered, so we decide to take it because it is now the starting time of the movie. I run ahead to buy the ticket and get us a seat while she pays the muni meter. I run into the theater, and a few minutes later a short film comes on, about Asian Americans. Since the audience had a large amount of Asians, it made sense. Then came a couple of previews, and my girlfriend still wasn't in the theater! So I check my phone and she got in right before the feature began. She said the muni meter wasn't working, so she had to find another! So the movie finally starts and we are like, wow, we rushed for this? So the movie starts, and something is wrong. After a few minutes we realize it's the wrong movie! They had started playing the Kitty Genovese documentary instead! So people went and complained, and they finally stopped it after like 10 minutes, and it took a bit, but they found the right movie and played it. What an ordeal!
So if you are not aware, this is a Korean horror film about shamen, possession, cops, family, rural Korea, murder, disease and good and evil. With the movie being over 2 and a half hours long, they can get in a lot of stuff, including drama, comedy, jump scares, creepy atmospheres, lots of rain and tons of animals that suffer some pretty nasty fates. If you are sensitive to that sort of thing you should be warned.
The movie looks amazing, and much of the Korean shamen rituals look very authentic and pretty amazing. The problem I had with the film, not being Korean,is I did not exactly get what was going on during some of the scenes. This seemed to be an intentional thing from the director, to make you wonder who is good and who is evil. He did that, but by the end I still wasn't totally sure what the hell just happened. I do not think I was the only one with this issue, as I could see the Asain people in the theater discussing the points I was confused about as well.
The film was beautifully shot, had one of my favorite Japanese (yes, Japanese) actors in it, from such favorites as Audition and Ichi The Killer. The movie was loud, very loud, so bring your earplugs if your ears are sensitive. It was long but enjoyable on many levels, though I was a bit miffed at leaving the theater without understanding exactly what I just saw.
When I got home I went online and found others had the same problem, but there was a website that made a great youtube video explaining some of the finer points of the movie. There was also info on the IMDb boards about what the director said about the characters in the film.
Even with all its flaws, this still gets 7 out of 10 stars.