Sunday, 12 June 2016

KOREAN MOVIE REVIEW:THE WAILING


9/10

Jong Joo is a small town policeman, who lives a simple life with his wife, mother and a little daughter. One morning he is awaken by a phone - there's been a murder. When he arrives at the scene he finds the family slaughtered and the culprit, the family member, out of his mind and covered in blood and furuncles, sitting on the front porch. This is just the beginning of the series of misfortunes of the little town. When Jong Joo’s daughter starts to behave strangely, t sets off a race against time to find the real culprit. Is it a strange Japanese man who lives alone in the forest and practices satanic rituals? Or is it something more sinister the words can describe?

South Korean director Hong Jin Nah has made only two feature films and both of them are among my favorites. His third feature THE WAILING had been 6 years in making. His unique way to structure the story is straightforward, but also dreamlike, is nothing you had ever seen. A modern viewer has certain expectations when going to see a film, but here those expectations all go out of the window. For its enormous 156 minutes run, the movie holds your interest by not following any conventional storytelling and an anticipation that anything, absolutely anything can happen.

Mixing the native folklore and the modern way approach to evil, THE WAILING has a unique atmosphere of mystery, where nothing, even the weather, cannot be taken for granted. The characters seem to get stuck under the perpetual rain, but it’s when the quietness of the village night descends, that no one should really feel safe.

There are films that are entertaining, there are films that leave long lasting impression, but there are also films I call “an experience”. THE WAILING is one of those films.

Withholding some information from the viewer, even after the credits start to roll, THE WAILING still delivers a satisfying, hair raising ending, that will make you think.


Don’t go to see it alone. You would want to discuss it with somebody afterwards.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

HORROR MOVIE REVIEW: THE CONJURING 2



7/10

Paranormal investigators Lorrain and Ed Warren are facing the most horrifying case in their career - Amityville Horror - when Lorrain has a premonition of something horrible to happen to Ed. Refusing to pursue any more cases she cannot avoid facing her fears when the Warrens are commissioned to investigate a new demonic possession in London – the terror of Enfiled, where a young girl is being terrorized by a restless spirit. But as Lorrain enters the house she cannot feel any supernatural presence. Is there really something otherworldly happening here? Or is it just someone’s foul play?

James Wan makes me proud to be a fellow Australian. He loves genre movies and he does them well. His Furious 7 in my opinion is the best entry into the franchise, but it is horror films that he does best.

THE CONJURING 2 is a sequel that does not upstage the original, but works perfectly in its own merit. It is longer than your average horror film, but is perfectly structured. For over a third of the movie we see the Warren family battling their personal demons, switching to the English family and their horrific experiences in Enfield. During those early scenes Wan builds an almost unbearable tension, and this atmosphere does not let go until the end titles start to roll.

If you pull THE CONJURING 2 apart, you will see all the familiar tropes – it all had been done before. But when it all comes together it creates a fresh and scary movie with well-shaped characters and the horror you believe in… at least while you are watching the film.

The score from a very unusual composer Joseph Bishara, Wan’s favorite for many projects, is a perfect background for the terrifying images on screen. Instead of following a leitmotiv, his soundtrack is a sound effect-like, with every effort thrown to maximize the scare. If you buy his CD it is unlikely you will be able to get through it in one go!

Wan was always great at creating memorable villains and his Nun Demon is a creature of nightmares. When it appears it owns every scene, and is, I cannot find a better word, as scary as hell.

A young actor Madison Wolfe has to be praised for her role of the possessed girl Janet Hodgson. In the hands of some less talented actor her many incarnations of evil could have turned into an epic fail.

This is not a perfect film, however. The pseudo religious nonsense if not damaging to the film, still feels irrelevant and too many questions are left unanswered.


But CONJURING 2 is a scary joyride with no aftermath – as terrifying as film is, it is no more than a successful theme park attraction. Don’t expect the buckets of blood and gore being thrown at you - it is all about atmosphere, and having a great time at the movies.