Mysterious Evil Destroys Small Village Families. “The Wailing” review!

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-8-16-32-pmIn a small South Korean village, tight-knit families practically know one another in the quaint middle-class community. When mysteriously deadly destructions from inside local families and strange stories of animal carcass devouring creatures in the woods surface, local police sergeant Jong-Goo begins an investigation to connect a pattern of violence and superstition and at the center of it all is a suspicious and reclusive Japanese traveller. Bound by the law and an overall lack of courage, Jong-Goo proceeds to investigate with extreme caution, but when his young daughter, Hyo-jin, becomes subjected to the same symptoms that overtook destroyed families from within, the desperate father sets aside rules and regulations and uses threats and force when visiting the Japanese Stranger, whose rumored to be an evil spirit that’s plaguing the small village with terror and death.
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By far, “The Wailing” sets the precedent on folklore horror. Acclaimed writer-director Hong-jin Na lands a harrowingly ambitious, well-constructed film right into the lap of horror fans with “The Wailing,” known also as “Goksung” in the film’s country of South Korea. South Korean filmmakers have once reestablished proof that foreign films can be as masterful, as bold, and as elegant when compared to any other film from major studio productions. Hollywood has started to come around by remaking one of South Korea’s most notorious films, the vengeful thriller “Oldboy,” and seeks to remake recent international hits in “Train to Buscan” and “I Saw the Devil.” Lets also touch upon that top Hollywood actors are beginning to branch out to South Korean films. “Captain America” star Chris Evans had obtained a starring role in Joon-ho Bong’s “Snowpiercer” alongside co-stars Ed Harris and the late British actor Sir John Hurt. “The Wailing” will reach similar popularity being one of 2016’s most original horror movies and one of the more unique visions of terror to clutch the heart of my all time favorite’s list.
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Do-won Kwak stars as Sergeant Jong-Goo, a officer who avoids trouble at all costs and has no motivation to be on time for anything. Kwak, basically, plays the fool character, comically going through the routine of investigating brutal murders complete with stabbings, burnings, and hangings despite his Captain’s constant chastising and seizes every opportunity to act dumb and look stupid, but once the story starts to focus “The Wailing” as nothing more than an offbeat black-comedy, Hong-ja Na devilishly about-faces with a severe turn of events that’s a mixed bag of genres. Kwak no longer plays the lead role of comic relief; instead, a more self-confident Sergeant Jong-Goo takes control of the investigation as the deeper he finds himself involved in the dark plague that’s ravaging his village. He hunts down the Japanese Stranger, the debut South Korean film for long time Japanese actor Jun Kunimura (“Kill Bill,” Takashi Miike’s “Audition”) with a zen like aurora that’s enormously haunting to behold and captivating when his presence is lurking amongst the scene. Though Kunimura’s demeanor contrasts with other actors, he’s very much in tune with the dynamic, but it’s the maniacally, foul-mouth ravings of Hyo-jin, played by Hwan-hee Kim, that stand out and are the most distraught during her possession state that could give “The Exorcist” a run for it’s money and is a visceral vice grip to the soul that has to be experienced. Woo-hee Chun and Jung-min Hwang round out the cast in their respective and memorable co-starring roles as a peculiar no named woman and a flashy shaman.
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“The Wailing” incorporates various folklore stemming from cultures all over the world including the Koreas, China, Japan, and even from China’s bordering neighbor Nepal and meshes them with religious practices of Buddhism to even the far corners that the Catholic faith possesses. The luxuriant green South Korean mountain backdrop sets an isolated, ominous cloud over a beautiful and serene archaic village, an awe-inspiring juxtaposition created by cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hong that coincides with the complete dread piercing through the heart of the story; a perspective vastly opposite to Hong’s works in the previously mentioned “Snowpiercer” that’s set in the tight confines of a class dividing bullet train. “The Wailing” bundles together mythos with visionary concepts and landscapes in an epic mystery-thriller that’s unforgettable; it will cling to you, like a evil-dwelling spirit, well after the film is over.
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20th Century Fox, in association with Ivanhoe Pictures and Side Mirror, produce Hong-jin Na’s top horror contender “The Wailing” with Well Go USA and Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment distributing on DVD and Blu-ray. Unfortunately, I was provided with a DVD-R screener and can’t specifically comment on specifications and image or audio quality. Accompanying the screener were two bonus features: a behind-the-scenes featurette and the beginning tale of “The Wailing” featurette. Both were fairly informative that gives insight on Hong-jin Na’s mindset and how the director’s ambitious story in a malignant tale of comedy, horror, and mysterious involving demons, shamans, and, quite possibly, the devil himself. “The Wailing” significantly captivates, sucking you into the darkness with an uncanny amount of pull with a story too terrifyingly original to avert and too thick with vigorous characters in a plot twist too harrowing to forget.

Torment and Puke is One Girl’s Evil Journey. “Madness of Many” review!

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Victoria propels through an discarded and tragic life of torture and suffering. Her parents sexually abuse her as a child and into her adulthood where she finally is able to desperately flee in search of a new and hopeful life, but Victoria’s destined to fulfill a life with more suffering, even worse than while under the abusive and ever watchful eyes of her family. The anguish built structure of her being leads Victoria to an endless amount of pain that grows inside her, sprouting a vast and treacherous sea of meaningful existence, and blossoming into a eye opening, or eye gouging, experience in which she’ll never forget. This is her journey through the gateway of hell to the inevitable rebirth of pain and puke.
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Considered to be the “most controversial” film made in Denmark, director/writer/editor/special effects artist Kasper Juhl’s experimental horror film “Madness of Many” goes through four chapters of Victoria’s detestable existence and transformative suffering. There’s never a time when she’s safe, being dredged through the scum and the dirt for all of her life.  The former prostitute and drug addict doesn’t ever rehab or recoup from her time as a sex slave, a human pin cushion, or a human fluid dumpster as her story, mostly told off-screen in a monologue accompanied by grotesque and digestible imagery, is considered to be a rise of a phoenix through the clout of ashes.
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However, Victoria is not alone. Numerous other women, some representing Victoria in various stages of her life and others just in an akin to Victoria’s situation, are affixed to the same suffrage and, in the same fashion as many Unearthed Film’s features, self-induced vomiting is a big part of their torment (and about 1/4 of the visual story). “Slaughtered Vomit Dolls” and films like it, such as “Madness of Many,” have never really been my cup of hot bloody spew stew, but “Madness of Many,” by far, has better visual effects when considering the torture and the gore amongst the spew-splattering titles.  Much like Victoria, the viewer has to suffer through drawn out portions of the narrator’s exposition in order to set up and enjoy Kasper Juhl’s effectively realistic sinew and gut-churning effects.
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I must admit there’s a certain poetic underlining and parallelism to Juhl’s film; a sort of an art-house, coffee shop “fung shui” complexity about suffering that can only be told through the Juhl’s telling of Victoria’s devastating story. The actor portrayal diminishes much of that structure that merely falls into the category, for most of the viewing experience, of interpretative dancing told in the eloquent genre of doom metal and deep underground horror cinema. Yet, Victoria’s plight is never a matter to be cheered for, never a route for hope, and certainly never a situation anyone would envy. “Madness of Many” is not, and I repeat, not a feel good movie.  Its not a kid’s movie. Hell, it’s not even a movie for most adults. Certain breeds of human would consider the Kasper Juhl’s film in their niche of subversive cinema. 
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Produced by Hellbound Productions and distributed fittingly by Unearthed Films and MVDVisual, “Madness of Many” delivers controversy; perhaps not in the States, but for Denmark, I’m sure and will cause much controversy for the weak stomachs who find this title in their possession, going into a viewing without the heads up of what they’re getting themselves into. Juhl’s only English film to date isn’t glamourous popcorn horror with a recognizable cast and it’s replay value is next to none, but if the gore and shock genre is the game you’re willing to play to perverse over, then the “Madness of Many” would be right up that twisted alley.

Evil That Is Hard to Swallow. Bad Meat review!

badmeatNot quite sure I want to review Bad Meat. Analyzing a project that never saw completion is like trying to teach terminally ill 3 year old how to manage a bank account. As I do a little more back ground research on Bad Meat, I’ve come across some very interesting and almost discouraging tidbits about the history behind Bad Meat. First off, the director is named Lulu Jarmen. Right now, you might be asking yourself who the hell is Lulu Jarmen and what else has she directed? Some people think Jarmen took over the project from Rob Schmidt, the director behind the inbred cannibal movie Wrong Turn and who promised fans that Dead Meat would be the most vile move ever seen quoted in 2011. However, many other people believe that Lulu Jarmen is a pseudo-name for Rob Schmidt because of how embarrassedly bad Bad Meat turned out financially and plot-wise.

Six troubled youths are sent to the isolated Camp Hardway under the cruel thumb of an hitler-esque figure and perverse, sadistic counselors. When the camp cook feeds the counselors rotten meat, the counselors transform into raging, flesh eating psychopaths.

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The premise is a shortcoming much like the ending of Dead Meat. Literally, the film just ran out of money from Capital films and immediately shut down production half way through the movie. Is it a good thing that perhaps Schmidt (or Jarmen) shot the movie from first sequence? One would think. Yet, Dead Meat ends right at the middle of the movie and in the midst of an attack none-the-less. The characters’ fates, the six teenage renegades, are left unexplained by an open ended, most likely reshot, ending that has left us to conjure up our own imagination to seek an ending to Dead Meat.

Dead Meat from the beginning had no promise even though fun to watch. The perversity is awkward, the fluids flow in chunky green vomit and think warm red blood, and the dialogue is as colorful as all the spectrums of the rainbow. The first 82-83, give or take, manages to at least make your time worth wild, but the last ten minutes are severely butchered with reshot with scenes of a severely burned (maybe?) survivor of the camp laying in a hospital bed and typing away on a bedside computer. Typing what? Yo no se. Most likely the story behind how this survivor came to be mangled and so horribly disfigured. These scenes, which are interjected into the original film, barely have any connections besides the name of the main character Tyler being thrown about by his apparent older brother who looks old enough to be his father.

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Dead Meat is not the “sickest move you’ll see this year.” Besides, I most likely would not even call it a full film. Intriguing, gross, and hilarious but a grand let down by Jarmen (or by Schmidt, who cares?). Any bit of Dead Meat’s success died with Capitol Films the production company. Revolver Entertainment’s pickup of Dead Meat would have rejuvenated life into this film, but instead arbitrary reshoots baffles and confuse.