‘The Wailing’ is a beloved South Korean movie that just dropped on Hulu.SK Global Entertainment
On Feb. 9, 2020, the unexpected happened in Los Angeles. At the 92nd Academy Awards, where movies like Joker, 1917 or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood were expected to take home the night’s top honor, a little movie called Parasite won Best Picture.
As of late, the Academy has made a habit of rewarding the underdogs. Moonlight beat out La La Land back in 2017; Green Book managed to best behemoths like A Star is Born and Roma; and just a few weeks back, the indie darling Nomadland stole the show.
However, Parasite was a much different case. Because Bong Joon-ho—who took home Best Director for the film—is from South Korea. Which made Parasite the first non-English language film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It was a triumphant moment for foreign language cinema on American soil, where Hollywood typically dominates cinema’s most celebrated evening.
But the South Korean revolution had already been churning when it came to film. While the country’s cinematic roots can be traced back to the 1940s—with Ki-young Kim’s 1960 drama The Housemaid commonly marked as an important turning point—South Korea has enjoyed its first true international boon in the past 20 years. Oldboy, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter … and Spring, Burning, Painted Fire, House of Hummingbird and, of course, Parasite have all captured audiences from around the world.
And while the South Korean film industry doesn’t generate nearly as much revenue as either China or the United States, they have managed to best countries like Canada, Australia and India in recent years.
Specifically, it’s been the genres of horror and thriller that have allowed South Korea to become a major player in cinema. The Host, A Tale of Two Sisters, Bedeviled, Train to Basan, I Saw the Devil, The Handmaiden, Memories of Murder—these are the kinds of films that have won over genre movie fans in recent years.
But there’s one movie that has seemed to stand above the rest of those. A movie that raked in $50 million at the international box office back in 2016. A film that has slowly been gaining cult-like followers for the past five years. A horror experience that took the genre in a brand new, exciting direction that we’ll be talking about for years to come.
The movie? The Wailing.
On a more personal note: this horror/thriller from Na Hong-jin is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I look for transcendence when it comes to horror films, and The Wailing was easily one of the most transcendent experiences of my moviegoing life.
But I’m not the only one who feels this way. I posted to Reddit—both r/movies and r/horror—to find fans of the Wailing. And the followers came out in droves.
Many of the reasons people listed for loving the movie are personal. But more than anything, people are simply fascinated by a movie like The Wailing. It’s a movie full of twists and turns that makes people theorize about the plot and the director’s deeper intentions. It’s the kind of film that makes somebody write nearly 10,000 words about what the heck is even going on. It’s an experience unlike any most people have had when it comes to the horror genre.
And now that movie is on Hulu. So if you have an account, I would strongly recommend you check out this insane experience. It’s rare that a movie can channel such a crazed response from movie lovers. And as South Korea continues to take center stage in cinema, I would expect more and more movies from that country to mimic the moves made by Na Hong-jin with The Wailing.
Parasite director Bong Joon-ho’s next movie is an animation set underwater
© Provided by Total Film Bong Joon-ho
Bong Joon-ho has set his first big screen project since 2019’s Oscar-winning Parasite. The director is making his first foray into animation with a Korean-language flick about humans and deep sea creatures.
Bong has reportedly been working on the project since 2018 and finished writing the script in January this year. He’s also reportedly working on a live-action English-language movie – Bong revealed the existence of these two films backstage at last year’s Oscars, revealing one was a Korean movie “located in Seoul” with “unique elements of horror and action,” so it’s safe to say that he was referring to the upcoming animation.
Gallery: 30 A-list actors whose early roles you’ve completely forgotten about (Total Film)
The filmmaker is currently working as an executive producer on HBO’s Parasite TV series, which is in pre-production. Although it’s set in the same universe as the movie, the show will tell an original story. “All these key ideas accumulated from when I started writing the script,” Bong told TheWrap last year when word of the TV show first got out. “I just couldn’t include all those ideas in the two-hour running time of the film, so they’re all stored in my iPad and my goal with this limited series is to create a six-hour-long film.”
Parasite follows a poor family who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family and infiltrate their household, with disastrous consequences. The movie cleaned up during the 2019 award season, winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes, and four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Bong has also directed movies like Okja, Snowpiercer, and The Host.
While we wait for Bong’s next movie to hit the big screen, make sure you’ve caught up on all the best movies of 2020.
Bong Joon-ho’s first animated film to be Korean-language feature about deep-sea creatures
Bong Joon-ho is working on a Korean-language movie about the relationship between deep-sea creatures and human beings – marking the Parasite director’s first full-length animated film.
ScreenDaily reports that the film will feature CGI animation by production company 4th Creative Party, who has worked with Bong on visual effects for his films The Host, Snowpiercer, and Okja. The company has reportedly stated that Bong is preparing to direct the film as the “next project after his next”, ahead of a live-action English-language film.
Bong is currently writing the script for the English-language project, while the animated film has had its script completed in January – the project has been in development since 2018, per ScreenDaily.
In February, Bong spoke on a podcast with Knives Out director Rian Johnson about two upcoming film projects, one in Korean and the other in English. “It feels like I’m splitting my brain in half left and right writing these two scripts,” he said. “But I finished one last week.”
Bong added that the Korean film “has unique elements of horror and action” while the English-language project is “a drama film based on a true event that happened in 2016” set in the UK and US.
In 2020, Bong made history by clinching Best Picture and Best Director for Parasite at the 92nd Academy Awards, making it the first-ever South Korean film to do so. The director is currently working with The Big Short filmmaker Adam McKay on developing HBO’s upcoming Parasite television series.