Alright, so I saw that the 2016 Korean shocker THE WAILING got all kinds of great reviews, and not Normie reviews, either. Credible sites and sources dug this film. And you will recall that I did not care for it, because it didn’t make any sense to me. It also didn’t make any sense that so many people were praising the film. Is it just me, I wondered. Then I found this article from Screen Rant that explains all the twists and turns of the movie. After reading it, do I have a greater appreciation for THE WAILING?
From the linked article: “The film almost makes it feel like it takes its audience on a thrilling journey throughout a number of different horror movie genres.” I agree. But this shifting isn’t what put me off. “After briefly confusing the audience, the film reveals that the Japanese Stranger was actually in fact a demon the entire time.” Wow. Actually in fact. That’s impressive. Unfortunately, the audience—me—wasn’t confused only briefly. “One of the confusing points of the film is the fact that the shaman was evil.” Yuh-huh.
“While they look, and act, almost like zombies, the people ‘infected’ aren’t sick with an actual disease at all, like the police believed. The illness was the possession. The characters seen throughout the film that seemed like savages had been the Stranger’s previous victims.” And does that include the ones who had actually been dead? Yes. Thus they *are* zombies.
The biggest takeaway: “It is also revealed towards the ending that the Shaman was working with the demon instead of against him like he claimed. Moo-Myung [the lady ghost, the “good” ghost] knows this, so she curses him and strikes fear into his heart.” This is not at all clear. It seems like it’s the demon who is out to get the shaman. So, after reading the article, do I have a greater appreciation for THE WAILING? I’m sorry, but no. I don’t. If you have to go to an outside source to explain things to you, then the writer did a sloppy job. He created a really lovely movie with strong acting, strong characters, and tons of atmosphere that suffered from a confusing script. And not the kind of confusing that David Lynch is known for, where you know there’s a point to it and it’s fun trying to figure out what that point is (though you probably won’t). With THE WAILING it’s just frustrating.