I wanted to rewatch The Host (2007) for this assignment, but honesty prevailed and I watched a film I hadn't seen. I, quite selfishly, watched The Wailing (2016). This Korean thriller is not appropriate to use in a classroom setting, but is thoroughly entertaining.
The film centers around Kwak Do-won, a police officer in a small town whose work becomes increasingly difficult when townfolk begin murdering their relatives. These murderers appear to be afflicted by something, made evident by skin lesions and erratic behavior that includes wailing.
As attacks escalate, attention quickly turns to a recent arrival to the town (The Stranger), an elderly Japanese man. It's not long before these events become personal for Kwak; his investigation leads him to find one of his daughter's sneakers in the Japanese man's house, a foreshadowing of his own daughter's coming wailing.
I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, but Kwak shifts gears from trying to solve these murders to finding a cure for his ailing daughter.
I am certain that there are elements of Korean traditional religious beliefs, spirituality, and superstition that I did not fully grasp, but this did not affect my enjoyment of the film as there were enough allusions to Christianity for me to process; it made me laugh, think, and whisper, "whhaaattt?" a few times. By the end of The Wailing I am not fully sure what the whole thing means or the nature (good, bad, evil) of certain characters or their culpability in the events that transpire. I personally like this feeling because the movie is not over after the credits stop rolling. One is left to question and revisit...