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The Wailing

Posted on June 23, 2020

Horror Fans, Don’t Call the Cops!

Sara McCartney

What do you think of when you think of the police? Do you think of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many more Black people who should be alive today? Do you think of the brutal police responses that have interrupted peaceful protests around the nation?[1] Do you think of your favorite television show? Entertainment, from buddy cop movies to gritty thrillers to police procedurals to detective dramas, have shaped our perception of law enforcement, sometimes under the direction of actual precincts.[2] And if you’re following the news, the incongruency between the real-life police and their fictional equivalents is impossible to ignore.

One of the reasons I love horror is because it’s very good at not taking the status quo for granted. The best horror unmoors us from our assumptions about the world. As calls to abolish the police enter the American mainstream, it’s time for us to rethink our familiar narratives about cops, and that’s where horror comes in, because the cops you’ll find in horror movies aren’t quite what you’ll see in Law and Order.

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Posted on September 30, 2016

The Wailing’s Brilliant Ambiguity

Dawn Keetley

The third feature film of South Korean director Na Hong-jin, The Wailing (Goksung) is his first foray into the horror genre. His first two films, for which he also wrote the screenplay, are thriller / action films, The Chaser (2008) and The Yellow Sea (2010).

The Wailing is a beautiful, lush, and thoroughly provocative film, featuring great performances by its four stars: Kwak Do Won as local police officer, Jong-goo, besieged by sudden vicious murders in his peaceful mountain community; Kim Hwan-hee as his daughter, Hyo-jin; Chun Woo-hee as a mysterious (unnamed) woman who seems to have some knowledge of what is behind the violence; and Jun Kunimura as an (also unnamed) Japanese “stranger” to the village, who becomes the target of the villagers’ suspicions.

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