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The Wailing ("Goksung", "The Strangers")

Quebec Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2016
  • 156 mins
  • DCP
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
Opening film: Camera Lucida

Official Selection: Out of Competition, Cannes Film Festival 2016, Munich International Film Festival 2016

« Incontestablement le film choc du Festival de Cannes 2016 » – CINESERIES MAG

A wave of grim killings and savage attacks are shaking up the rural town of Goksung. This inexplicable chain of insane events is sparked by an excessively violent, ritualistic double homicide, followed by the discovery of three mutilated bodies and two badly burned and enraged individuals at the scene of a fire. Flabbergasted by what’s happening, Sgt. Jeon Jong-gu heads the investigation, trying to explain the cause of the homicidal chaos plaguing his city. The clues are as rare as they are vexing. First of all, all the suspects have developed an extreme, pestilent skin rash. Then there are the terrifying rumours concerning the strange Japanese man having taken residence in the neighbouring forest, and the strange lady prophesizing that he will bring death and misery to the village. When Jong-gu’s daughter is gripped by a fit of aggressive behaviour indicative of demonic possession, an aspiring priest and energetic witchdoctor arrive on scene to defeat the curse assailing the citizens of Goksung.

An official selection at the latest Cannes Festival, the terrifying thriller THE WAILING, from writer/director Na Hong-jin (the man behind the classic THE CHASER), immerses the viewer in a nightmare where realism and mysticism combine with various classic horror elements, such as soul possession and the vampire myth, to create a gripping tale of apocalyptic resonance that will keep you guessing up to its stunning conclusion. Thanks to a masterful mise-en-scene in which every detail serves to enhance the narrative understanding, Na Hong-jin creates a suffocating atmosphere where even the beautiful landscapes of the Korean countryside help to accentuate the alienation of its characters. Kwak Do-won (THE YELLOW SEA) delivers an exemplary intensity as the antihero Jeon, and Hwang Jung-min (A VIOLENT PROSECUTOR) is simply mesmerizing as the foul-mouthed shaman, but it's young Kim Hwan-hee (NIGHT FISHING) who will make your skin crawl as the possessed girl. Under no circumstance can you miss THE WAILING. See for yourself what caused all the commotion on the Promenade de la Croisette.

— Nicolas Archambault