This is a high quality horror movie.
The first thing that struck me about The Wailing is how good the filmmaking is. It’s shot beautifully, but more than that there’s an authenticity to everything. It all feels messy and lived in. There’s great atmosphere in general, and the movie makes great use of rain.
That carries over to the acting. These characters feel like real people and react to what happens naturally. Horror movies are so tied to cliche character behavior so that becomes incredibly refreshing here.
That also allows the movie to be very funny upfront. This is a movie that builds to darkness, so the early levity serves as a good bridge to get us there. The movie is funny when it wants to be, and then has the confidence to cut that off as it ramps up.
The story is centered around a string of gruesome murders committed by family members who have become sick and insane alongside ugly rumors about a Japanese man who moved to town around the same time. The mystery around it is well done so I’ll leave it at that.
The big thing that keeps me from being over the moon on this movie is that the main character is kind of a piece of shit. Not really in a standard Horror movie way more in an ancient tragedy kind of way. He’s just not sympathetic; he’s not supposed to be but that still puts a ceiling on the movie for me personally.
This is a really good horror movie and one I don’t have an easy comparison for.
This is a horror movie that’s easy to recommend.