The Wailing Review + Explanation: Horror-Thriller Movie

Have you watched any horror movie that made you think after it ended? If not, you need to watch The Wailing.

This Korean movie is a masterpiece that takes the horror & thriller genre to a whole new level. With 2 hr 36 min of runtime, you may think a horror film, this long? But, the movie is worth your time.

The suspense of this movie is like none other, it’s different & fresh. This movie has a cohesive ending that would make your mind think that what the hell happened. Let’s get to the review.

The Wailing Review

The movie is about a policeman (played by Kwak Do Won known for Steel Rain, The Yellow Sea, The Attorney, etc.) who is investigating a murder because lately the villagers have been struck with a strange disease that is causing people to turn violent.

The wailing photo 1

The cop thinks that the sickness is spreading due to some wild mushroom poisoning but the people are saying that all of this started when a Japanese stranger arrived. Later, the policeman’s daughter starts showing signs of sickness.

The Wailing photo 2

I totally got immersed in the movie from the beginning and the complex and detailed story actually deserved this long runtime. It also puts you in the shoes of the policeman because you are not really sure whom to trust and what to believe.

There are a few characters that are going to keep you guessing what their motives are and whose side they’re on, is the Japanese man really strange & is he responsible for the whole thing? A lot of questions will come into your mind.

To answer all your questions, here is a brief explanation of the movie that I think is suitable. There are different explanations on various websites & YouTube videos. I have picked up the best of them according to me.

The Wailing Explanation

MAJOR SPOILER !! Don’t read if you haven’t watched the movie yet.

I will not be explaining the whole story, just some scenes of the movie that are confusing. You can make up the story with these small hints.

Talking about the Japanese man, he represents evil. He is possessed by the devil or is the devil himself.

The Wailing devil
The Japanese Man (Devil)

The woman in white is a good deity who protects the village. She fights against evil. She also warns the policeman that the Japanese man is evil.

The Wailing woman in white
The woman in white

The shaman works for the Japanese man. They both work together. The devil gets his hit by killing people and the shaman earns money when people call him for exorcism. It’s a win-win situation for both of them. This can be verified using two scenes.

One – The shaman while changing his clothes can be seen wearing the same type of underwear as the Japanese man that can be seen at beginning of the movie.

The wailing shaman changing clothes
Shaman changing clothes
The wailing Japanese man
Japanese man wearing underwear

Two – There is a deleted scene at the end of the film that shows the shaman picked up the Japanese man. This shows that they are a team. You can watch the deleted ending scene here.

During the ritual, the shaman is attacking the small girl (destroying her or the demon inside her) & not the Japanese man.

The Wailing shaman ritual
Shaman performing ritual

The Japanese man is shown performing a ritual at the same time. But, these two rituals occur at different times (the director said in an interview).

The wailing Japanese man ritual
Japanese man performing ritual

The Japanese man is performing the ritual in front of a photo of a man in a car. After the ritual, the man in the car breathes & protects the Japanese man (this can be seen when the policeman visits the house).

Shaman gets ill & vomits when he sees the woman in white. She attacked the shaman. This confirms that the shaman is evil & the woman is good.

The Wailing shaman omiting
Shaman sees the woman in white

In a scene, when the shaman tries to leave the village, birds attack his car’s windshield. This is a sign by the Japanese man who wishes him to stay in the village and complete the task.

The wailing shaman car
Shaman’s car struck by birds

Near to the end, the shaman tells the policeman to go to his house & also says that the Japanese man is a shaman too. While going to his house, the policeman comes across the woman who attempts to stop him from going home.

The Wailing policeman and white woman
Policeman & the woman in white

She tells the truth that if he goes to his house, he will not be able to stop his daughter from killing his family. But, the policeman thinks that she is stopping him from saving his family.

The policeman gets confused about whom to believe – shaman or woman. She tells him that the shaman is a demon & she has laid a trap at his door to kill him. The policeman doesn’t trust the woman & goes to his house. When he crosses the entrance, we can see that the trap the woman has set up dies.

The Wailing house trap
Trap set by the woman in white

The same trap is seen at the beginning of the movie. This means that other people also lost faith in the woman & got killed.

The Wailing house trap beginning
Trap destroyed at the beginning

Coming to the end of this review, the movie is a good watch if you are a fan of thrillers & suspense. If you want to get your head to work & start making assumptions, this movie is a must-watch.

About Author

Jihun
Jihun
Hello, I am Jihun from South Korea. I have watched a lot of Korean movies compared to dramas & thrillers are my favourite.