The Wailing

June 5th, 2016


The Wailing

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Release Year: 2016

Rating: 7.9/10 ( voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Hong-jin Na

Stars: Jun Kunimura, Jeong-min Hwang, Woo-hee Chun

A little village in the mountains of South Korea. The residents know each other well, but not the smart young man, who is moving into the village. He is polite, but also likes to stay on his own. Soon after his arrival, a mysterious sickness starts spreading and the residents suspects the unknown man for making them sick. But the police thinks they got accidentally poisoned by wild mushrooms. Also police officer Jong-goo, who is leading the investigation. But then he meets a mysterious young woman called Moo-myung, who gives him information about the stranger. Right then Jong-goos daughter becomes sick, showing the same symptoms like the residents. Desperate he gives his daughter to the shaman Il-gwan in order to protect her while he is trying to solve the mystery behind the sickness.

Woo-hee Chun - The Woman of No-name
Jeong-min Hwang - Il-Gwang
So-yeon Jang -
Han-Cheol Jo -
Jun Kunimura - The Stranger
Do Won Kwak - Jong-Goo


Official Website: Not official site | Official Facebook |

Country: South Korea

Language: Korean, Japanese

Release Date: 3 Jan 2016

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Many people was worried because The pronunciation of the original film name(Goksung: meaning 'Wailing') and main filming location(Goksung, located in Jeonlanamdo) is same. See more »

User Review


Rating: 10/10

If "The Chaser" and "The Yellow Sea" have not solidified Na as one of the best Korean filmmakers of this generation, his third feature has certainly done so. "The Wailing" is a cinematic masterpiece in every sense and it will haunt your soul long after you've walked out of the theater.

While it pays homage to "The Exorcist" in many ways, this is no horror film, and in fact, it is unlike any film I've ever seen. The once familiar clichés turn against you. The cultural and spiritual elements add a distinct Korean flavor. The film is completely absent of jump scares and instead, opts to draw out tension in what feels to be a very short two-and-a-half hour experience. Credit goes to the clever editing as I often found myself mind-blown during scene transitions, and craving more pieces to put together in this complex puzzle of a plot. While there's a lot going on here, it's hard to miss the visceral images that are given such detail, and it helps that every plant has a payoff.

The performers have a lot of range, from tacit facial expressions to downright melodramatic wailing. Child actor Kim Hwan-hee stands out even among a veteran ensemble cast that includes Hwang Jung-min and Jun Kunimura. Na is often criticized for stoic machismo, but these characters are dynamic; the protagonists increasingly vulnerable, and the antagonists all the more menacing.

When the credits rolled, I could not get up. And when my legs could hold me again, I found myself coming back to the theater. There is a sick appeal to this emotional and physical torment, so enjoy it twice, maybe three times, or even more.


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