9/03/2019

The Wrath (Review)

Title: The Wrath (Yeo-gok-seong [original title])
Director: Yoo Young-Sun
Writer: Park Jae-Bum
Cast:  Choi Hong-Il, Seo Young-Hee , Son Na-Eun, Lee Tae-Ri, Park Min-Ji, Choi Hong-Li
Min: 94
Year: 2018

A household in ancient Korea is cursed by a demonic, female ghost, who haunts it and the family who inhabits it. Ok-Bun (Son Na-Eun) has married the third son in said family, who has returned home with a demon sword to destroy the ghost. That night, he beds his new wife. He fails at getting rid of the ghost, though, instead getting offed by her. The mother-in-law hates Ok-Bun, but soon has to put up with and make sure Ok-Bun is cared for, as she is the first of her three daughter-in-laws to get successfully knocked-up. But, the weird shit happening gets weirder and weirder, and eventually more deadly. A great exorcist is called to help get rid of the evil spirit and help protect the baby. But, can even he do anything?
The Wrath is a Korean remake of the 1986 Korean horror flick, Woman's Wail. Having never seen that movie, I will be judging this movie wholly on its own merits. It most definitely has its share of both merits and flaws. But, thankfully the good far out weighs the bad.

While there are scenes that will feel familiar to anyone who has watched enough Asian horror, director Yoo (The Wicked) Young-Sun manages to always keep the film interesting.  The movie looks beautiful, thanks to its gorgeous cinematography. The outside shots of the snowy woods early in the film, for example, are majestic and stunning. He is also quite good at giving us some really creepy moments.
The movie has a great beginning, which is foreboding and bloody. It sets up the tone for the rest of the film rather nicely. Another highlight of the movie is when we finally learn the ghost's full origin, which is violent and intense. That being said, it is a mostly slow moving film. But, thanks to some deft directing and storytelling, you remain interested throughout and want to know just what fuck is going on. It helps that the flick has some "oh shit!" moments that keep you further intrigued.

Among these are some bits of gore. The bloody mayhem includes stabbings, arterial sprays, face ripping, and the barfing up of blood! But, the grossest scene involves the eating of earthworms, thankfully CGI ones. The climax is great and really ups the action by tenfold. It is followed by a shock ending which actually works within the overall plot. Which is more than I can usually say for most endings of this sort.
The acting is excellent; it is one of the movie's strongest points. This is so central to a flick like this, as the relationships and interactions between the women is made that much more fascinating. I really like the way this film presents women of this era and the importance, for them, of being with child in this society. This shows the women's ambitions and desires and helps to keep the movie strong, solid, and fascinating.

The Wrath is a kind of slow but always entertaining and, at times, fascinating bit of K-horror. It has a few creepy moments, as well as some that are gory and gruesome and help to punch up the proceedings. The movie has a great beginning and an exciting climax that balances it all out rather nicely. Featuring beautiful cinematography and excellent acting, this remake is a good choice for fans of Asian and/ or supernatural/ ghost horror in general. It starts streaming this Thursday, September 5, 2019, on Shudder.


3 out of 4

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