The Wailing is a South Korean horror film helmed by Na Hong-Jin. It stars Kwak Do-Won, Hwang Jung-Min, and Chun Woo-Hee in leading roles. The film follows a policeman who starts investigating a series of mysterious killings and illnesses in a remote Korean village. A mysterious plague or infection has infested in the Gokseong village, and his daughter also ends up facing a threat. The horror film was a success as it went on to do great both critically as well as commercially. Suh Dong-Hyun and Kim Ho-Sung have produced the film. Director Na Hong-jin has also penned the screenplay. Jang Young-Gyu and Dalpalan have composed the film’s score. Kim Sun-Min is the editor, while Hong Kung-Pyo handled the cinematography. The film is a co-production between Side Mirror and Fox International Production Korea.
The cast includes Kwak Do-won, playing Jong-Goo, a policeman and father of Hyo-Jin. He moves to a remote village called Gokseong with his family. Hwang Jung-Min plays Il-Gwang, a shaman who is hired to protect the village. He plays a key role in the film, and later on, the devil possesses him. Chun Woo-Hee plays Moo-Myung, the mysterious woman in white. Jun Kunimura plays the Japanese stranger, the one at the center of the conflict and also behind the mysterious killings. Kim Hwan-Hee plays Jong-Goo’s daughter Hyo-Jin. Her-Jin plays Jong-Goo’s mother-in-law while Jang So-Yeon plays his wife. Kim Do-Yoon plays Yang I-Sam, a deacon who speaks Japanese. Son Gang-Guk plays Jong-Goo’s police partner, Oh Seong-Bok. With a runtime of 2 hours and 36 minutes, there’s a lot to unpack. So without further ado, let’s jump into the plot and ending of The Wailing.
The Wailing Ending Explained
The Wailing kicks off with a Japanese man arriving at Gokseong. It is a remote village in the mountains of South Korea. A mysterious infection soon breaks out following the arrival of the Japanese stranger. The infection makes the villagers deranged, and they start killing their families brutally. Moving on, we meet Oh Seong-Bok, a police officer, and his partner Jong-Goo. One night, a naked woman arrives at the station, and they learn she had killed her family. When Seong-Bok and Jong-Goo arrive at the crime scene, they meet a mysterious young woman named Moo-Myeong. She tells them that the Japanese stranger is a ghost and behind the killings. After she disappears mysteriously, a local hunter tells the policemen that he saw the Japanese man eating a raw deer. He also tells them that his eyes were glowing red. Jong-Goo then has similar dreams of the Japanese stranger.
He then sets off to investigate the stranger along with Seong-Bok. To start their investigation, they take help from Seong-Bok’s nephew, Yang I-Sam — a deacon who can speak Japanese. They go to investigate the stranger’s house while he’s out of the house. They find pictures of the murdered villagers and their belongings as well. Meanwhile, the stranger’s guard dog attacks them. However, it stops attacking them once the stranger returns home. Jong-Goo leaves with his team, and on their way back, Seong-Bok shows him his daughter’s shoe. His daughter Hyo-Jin grows sick and starts to exhibit symptoms similar to the infected ones. An enraged Jong-Goo returns to the stranger’s house and burns down his worship room, telling him to leave. Killings continue to happen, and Jong-Goo does whatever he can to save his daughter. Will he succeed in saving her?
What Happens To Hyo-Jin and How Does It End?
The ending of The Wailing sees Moo-Myung warding the demon off the house. It would have sufficed in stopping the demon from being able to enter inside. He wouldn’t have been able to either come inside or kill anyone. And that’s what happens until Jong-Goo runs out of patience. Moo-Myung tells and warns Jong-Goo a couple of times. She tells him that if he goes now, his entire family will die. He tries to wait but he finally runs out of patience. He waits and waits, while also disturbing Moo-Myung. Ultimately, he chooses to break the barrier and go inside the house. As he goes inside, the barrier vanishes, made apparent by the flower put by Moo-Myung. She had placed a flower on the door before putting the barrier. However, when Jong-Goo enters the house, breaking the barrier, the flower shrivels up and dies, enabling the demon to enter.
The ending of The Wailing gives us a dark and tragic conclusion. As Jong-Goo enters his home, he finds that Hyo-Jin has brutally murdered the whole family. A devastated Jong-Goo calls out to her, but she doesn’t respond. Meanwhile, Il-Gwang arrives and takes photographs of Jong-Goo’s dead family. Jong-Goo sits by his dead daughter, broken and destroyed. With everyone in his family now dead, a broken Jong-Goo starts reminiscing about the happier times with his daughter. There’s a deleted ending scene floating around as well. In the deleted ending, we can see Moo-Myung looking at a car as it drives away. The car, as it turns out, is being driven by Il-Gwang, and the demon is sitting beside him. This means that the demon is off to another place to hunt another group of people.
You can stream The Wailing on Amazon Prime Video.