October 2, 2023

the wailing (2016)

The Wailing does what my favorite horror movies do best: it ruminates on and reflects our world back to us in a kaleidoscopic, creepy funhouse. There's something about entering a universe that looks like ours, but has exaggerated features in the form of horror symbolism and imagery, that makes the commentary on our world oftentimes more effective than straight drama.

And, even among great horror movies, The Wailing stands out as a masterpiece of misdirection and subverted expectations. The movie at various turns upends itself, and does so in a completely believable way, which has to be seen to be believed.

The Wailing is probably the scariest movie I can stomach, but only because of the contemplative, complicated themes undergirding the terror. Here are some of the many themes the movie touches on in its 2.5-hr. runtime: 

bewildering parenthood

the horror of what happens behind closed doors

groupthink and xenophobia 

ideas, fear, faith, violence as contagion

above all, faith; but how, and to what

Trigger warning if you choose to watch The Wailing: a great amount of gore and horrifying imagery that I haven't included in these screenshots.

A movie best watched with the lights on and through your fingers 🫣:


Final note: wishing a happy Oct. 1st to all who celebrate 🦇🎃👻