Fantasia 2019 Review: “The Wrath” (2018) ★★★

It is incredible to see how great and straightforward the South Korean Cinema is with the horror genre. They not only avoid sugarcoating the concept to ease for those who are not used to watching bloody and scary scenes, in fact, the camera work, performance, or even visually stunning effects have the power to force the audience to depart from their comfort zone and enter where they would never dare to even think about.

Taking place in the Joseon Era, “The Wrath” brings two women against each other during the time when an evil spirit cursed the family when their son died on the wedding day. When the maid, who became the youngest daughter-in-law, gets pregnant, the life of her unborn child is being threatened as the evil spirit won’t stop at anything until it takes every man of the family of Shin. But the desire of the authoritarian family matriarch, Madame Shin, to break the family curse goes wrong when her young son immediately dies under horrible conditions which words simply fail to describe.

While the Joseon period is the source of inspiration for Korean Cinema, “The Wrath” takes a different turn by taking the audience into a dark alley, leaving some of its viewers to have their eyes closed during certain scenes. All the close-up scenes with killings are extremely detailed that can cause a discomforting feeling for some, however, for the nuanced audience who likes seeing horror cinema in its best way possible, “The Wrath” won’t leave anyone disappointed; especially when it’s being viewed after midnight for a better effect.

Ok-bun is our protagonist, who, while pregnant must fight for the life of her child after losing her husband. But when an exorcist was invited to the house to investigate the matter and see if he can clear the house from the evil spirit, he quickly recognizes Ok-bun’s strong soul as he says, “It won’t be easy for the evil spirit to kill you.” Once the flashbacks shed light on what really happened that led the family to be cursed in the first place, the film takes a twisted turn, offering a satisfying answer to the question that will always be in demand.

In the end, “The Wrath” is a delightfully scary horror film that explores the most important theme – when you gain everything, you lose everything. In short, the film is not about defeating evil, which is impossible, but rather consoling it to be able to control it later. But as the director Yoo Young-seon proves through his directorial approach, the evil cannot be consoled. And if it is consoled, that happens only to fool its victims later and begin its dangerous game once again when an appropriate victim arrives.

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