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The Wailing(곡성)

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Korea, United States · 2016
2h 36m
Director Na Hong-jin
Starring Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee, Jun Kunimura
Genre Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The arrival of a mysterious stranger in a quiet rural village causes suspicion among the villagers, but as they begin killing each other for no apparent reason, that suspicion turns to panic. When the daughter of the investigating officer falls under the same savage spell, he calls in a shaman to assist in finding the culprit.

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Screen International by

Na’s screenplay takes viewers to the root of evil in a manner that subverts expectations and cleverly manipulates cause and effect at almost every turn.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

Forget the inflated Trumpian moral dilemmas of "Superman" and "Captain America." The summer’s most powerful and most disturbing thriller has arrived, in the form of an intensely atmospheric Korean movie called The Wailing.


The A.V. Club by Benjamin Mercer

The Wailing might be a somewhat meandering and nonsensical genre recombination, but that spell never breaks over its lengthy running time.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

This is horror filmmaking that's designed to work on you like a virus, slowly incapacitating your defenses so it can build up and do some real damage.


The Hollywood Reporter by Deborah Young

As dark and pessimistic as the rest of South Korean thrill-master Na Hong Jin’s work, The Wailing (Goksung, a.k.a. The Strangers in France) is long and involving, permeated by a tense, sickening sense of foreboding, yet finally registers on a slightly lower key than the director’s acclaimed genre films The Chaser (2008) and The Yellow Sea (2010).


Variety by Maggie Lee

On the one hand, the film is a gripping whodunnit, exemplified by a scene of classic Hitchcockian suspense, when Jong-gu makes a frightening discovery while snooping around the Japanese man. At the same time it treads into supernatural territory through nightmarish dream sequences that feel unnervingly real.


Village Voice by Michael Nordine

That the film has so many partial reference points only makes the ultimate amalgamation stranger, as the chimeric whole can't be fully explained by its parts. The Wailing enters the world malformed and screaming, as powerless to stop itself as we are.


The Playlist by Nikola Grozdanovic

The film is a bullet train of laughs, gore, frights and folklore, making the two-and-a-half hour runtime feel like a couple of minutes. Blink and you might miss the whole thing.


The Film Stage by Zhuo-Ning Su

Designed and choreographed with stupendous pizzazz, it’s an explosion of colors, noises, and murderous zest that floods the senses, reminding you in a (skipped) heartbeat how frightfully entertaining these supposedly artless horror flicks can be.

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