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The Wailing

Blu Ray

  • Score
    72
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • The Wailing is a divisive, mood-rich horror with strong tech but lacks clarity and extras. Recommended.

    The Wailing Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    75
  • The Wailing's Blu-ray impresses with its detailed 1080p presentation, masterful use of color grading, and solid contrast, beautifully capturing eerie landscapes and intense scenes, despite occasional detail loss in darker moments.

  • Audio
    72
  • The Wailing's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track boasts clear dialogue, an evocative score with ethnic instruments, and dynamic environmental sounds, enhancing its slow-burn intensity without audio flaws.

  • Extra
    50
  • The Wailing's promotional materials include HD EPK snippets (1:51 & 4:56) with overlapping interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, alongside a trailer (1:54), offering a glimpse but criticized for brevity.

  • Movie
    72
  • The Wailing, blending dark comedy and horror, explores paranoia in an isolated Korean village with supernatural elements, invoking a unique cultural response.

    Video: 75

    The Wailing" on Blu-ray, distributed by Well Go USA, boasts an AVC encoded 1080p video presentation in a cinematic 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The technical specifications suggest the use of Arri digital cameras, lending the film a quality that balances between the resplendently scenic and the occasionally murky due to artistic choices. The rural Korean landscapes, captured by director Na Hong-Jin and DP Hong Kyung-pyo, are exquisitely framed, displaying the natural beauty and eerie atmosphere through a variety of color gradings. Scenes set in rain-soaked environments or within the dim confines of the Outsider's lair occasionally suffer from reduced detail levels, especially when heavy blue or yellow color grading is applied. Despite these moments, well-lit scenes reveal excellent detail, particularly in the unnerving portrayal of disease-afflicted villagers.

    In terms of video quality, this release excels with its faithful color reproduction and crisp image clarity, even in scenes laden with CG effects and significant color correction. The fidelity of wide landscape shots is particularly noteworthy, with deep blacks ensuring that night-time and dark interior scenes maintain an impactful visual presence. The texture and palette of these visuals strikingly resemble oil paintings, enhancing the film's ability to oscillate between the palpably real and the eerily supernatural. The Blu-ray's handling of contrast and black levels is commendable, creating a consistently stable image free from artifacts.

    Overall, "The Wailing" on Blu-ray from Well Go USA presents a visually striking viewing experience. The blend of natural beauty with carefully planned color grading renders a vivid canvas that complements the film's atmospheric tension. While certain scenes see a slight dip in detail due to stylistic choices, the video presentation remains robust, successfully capturing both the grotesque and the sublime elements of this terror-infused narrative. Solid contrast, deep blacks, and an absence of image instability or artifacts round out a highly commendable visual transfer for this haunting cinematic work.

    Audio: 72

    The audio presentation of "The Wailing" on Blu Ray is delivered through a robust DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, offering an immersive experience in its original Korean with the option of English subtitles. The intricacies of the film's dense atmospheric settings, particularly the forest inhabitation scenes, are accentuated by nuanced surround sound usage, enveloping viewers in the movie’s eerie ambiance. The environmental sounds, notably the heavy rainfall sequences, showcase the audio track's dynamic range as they fluidly cascade through the side and rear channels, enhancing the overall sensory experience. The film’s unique score, incorporating ethnic instruments like gongs, further enriches the auditory landscape, comfortably filling the surround channels without overpowering the clean, crisp delivery of dialogue.

    Notably, the audio design benefits from a thoughtful application of a percussive score that sidesteps conventional horror tropes for a more refined auditory impact. This score, alongside ambient sounds and carefully balanced dialogue, crafts a foundational layer that significantly contributes to the film's creeping tension. The rear surround channels are particularly effective, subtly introducing scenes before gracefully transitioning the focus to the front, thereby creating a cohesive and enveloping sound field. As "The Wailing" progresses, building slowly over its extended duration towards a fever pitch, the scoring and audio design move in tandem to peak performance in the final act. Throughout this nearly three-hour journey, the track maintains impeccable clarity with no detectable artifacts or inconsistencies in volume levels, ensuring an uninterrupted and engaging audio experience.

    Extra: 50

    The extra features on "The Wailing" Blu-ray offer a glimpse behind the curtain, but may leave audiences wanting more. With two featurettes, "The Beginning of The Wailing" and "Making Of," viewers are treated to an assortment of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Both pieces unfortunately suffer from brevity, despite providing intriguing insights into the film's creation. They recycle some interviews but manage to cover different facets of the production process. Complementing these is the trailer in high definition, ensuring that every detail is crisply presented. Overall, these extras serve as a decent addition for fans looking for a peek into the movie-making process, though their short lengths might not satiate the appetite of those seeking in-depth explorations.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • The Beginning of The Wailing: Brief interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
    • Making Of: A compilation of interviews and on-set experiences, sharing insight into the film's production.
    • Trailer: The official trailer in high definition.

    Movie: 72

    The Wailing," directed by Na Hong-jin and captured through the lens of Kyung-pyo Hong, emerges as this year's unexpected cinematic marvel akin to "The Babadook," boasting a unique blend of horror elements anchored in a deep-seated fear of the unknown. In the secluded Korean village of Goksung, a tranquility-shattering sequence of grisly murders propels the narrative into a realm where paranormal phenomenon and local superstitions collide with the pragmatic endeavors of an inept police force. Kwak Do-won portrays Sergeant Jong-gu, a character who infuses the plot with a distinct blend of comedic relief and poignant desperation, entwined in a struggle against forces beyond his comprehension or control.

    Jong-gu's investigation into these eerie occurrences, initially deemed the result of a psychedelic mishap, gradually unveils a tapestry rich in cultural folklore and sinister implications tied to a mysterious Japanese outsider. This element not only fuels the town's spiraling paranoia but also serves as a focal point for exploring deeper themes of xenophobia and societal breakdown in the face of inexplicable terror. The alternating currents of dark humor and horrifying reality are mirrored in Jong-gu's personal ordeal, as his daughter falls prey to an ominous affliction, leading to sequences reminiscent of classic exorcism cinema yet replete with cultural specificity and narrative innovation.

    The film's visual storytelling, marked by persistent rainfall and a haunting landscape, transcends mere atmospheric setup, embedding each scene with an ethereal quality that elevates the unfolding mystery. Despite its sprawling runtime, "The Wailing" meticulously crafts a slow-burning horror narrative that challenges viewers' thresholds for disbelief and patience. It encapsulates a meticulous fusion of mundane policing with the spectral, navigating through its layered plot with a deliberate pace that culminates in an ambiguous dalliance with morality and redemption. Amidst moments of levity and profound fear, Na Hong-jin orchestrates a cinematic symphony that deftly maneuvers through the complexities of faith, cultural identity, and the quintessential battle between light and darkness.

    Total: 72

    The Wailing" presents an enigmatic fusion of slapstick comedy and grisly supernatural horror, creating a cinematic experience that's as bewildering as it is captivating. Its ability to oscillate between these two extremes lends the film an unusual yet intriguing tonal ambiguity, which may not appeal to everyone but certainly makes for a compelling watch. The narrative, while dense and occasionally perplexing, builds a palpable sense of dread over its expansive runtime. Some viewers might find the film's length and comedic interjections detract from its overall impact, yet when "The Wailing" veers into its more sinister segments, it delivers a level of intensity that's hard to shake off. Hong-jin Na's directorial ambition is evident in every frame, demanding multiple viewings to fully appreciate the depth and complexity of the story.

    Technical aspects of "The Wailing" Blu-ray release are commendable, showcasing strong audio and visual quality that highlights the film’s atmospheric settings and meticulous sound design. However, the Blu-ray package is noted for its sparse supplemental content, a point of contention for those who appreciate deeper dives into the filmmaking process. This aspect notwithstanding, the movie stands as a must-watch for aficionados of the horror genre, drawing comparisons to recent successes like "The Witch" and "The Babadook" for its ability to linger in the viewer’s mind long after the credits roll.

    In conclusion, despite its minor flaws in pacing and tone, "The Wailing" emerges as a distinguished entry in the horror genre, buoyed by its robust technical presentation on Blu-ray. The film's ambitious scope and enigmatic narrative demand investment and patience, but the payoff is a uniquely unsettling and memorable experience. It comes highly recommended for those seeking a horror film that dares to traverse uncharted territories of genre-blending and storytelling.