REVIEW: ‘The Wrath’ is Unrelenting Horror from the First Moment

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The Wrath

Shudder Original The Wrath is a South Korean horror film directed by Yoo Young-sun, starring Seo Young-hee and Son Na-eun and is a remake of the iconic 1986 Korean horror film Woman’s Wail. Starting off in the shadow of a beloved horror film can be hard and while The Wrath shoots to surpass it lands somewhere just above the middle.

A solid ghost story, The Wrath begins in a bloodbath and it doesn’t let up. From hallucinations to projectile blood vomiting, and of course close-ups of uncomfortable wounds, this film is a gruesome watch as we follow a young girl, Ok-Boon (Shon Na-eun), sold as a wife into the household of Lee Gyeong-jin, a high-ranking official of Joseon Kingdom. But the house is cursed, with two of the family’s sons dying from an unidentified horror.

In an attempt to kill the evil, the third son marries a woman, beds her, and awaits evils presence hoping to stay alive, unlike his brothers. When this fails, his widow, pregnant with his child must navigate a haunted house and an evil mother-in-law named Lady Shin (Seo Young-hee) as the family looks to an exorcist, Hae-chun-bi (Lee Tae-ri), for help. However, the exorcist’s presence causes the evil to intensify as he aims to satiate the spirit, leaving the film to go fully off the rails in a third act that I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

The Wrath

The premise is simple but the delivery hits you like a truck. From the opening of the film to the end, The Wrath is an unrelenting gorefest that moves through its convoluted story with plot points as accents to the violence and not the other way around. While the film itself feels hollow, with only one character standing out with a dynamic performance, director Young-sun Yoo offers up an opulent setting with beautiful Joseon period costumes that stand stark against the blood and violence of the film. Similar to the Netflix Original horror series Kingdom, the beauty of the set pieces and the clothing is something that stands out.

As a fan of Korean period dramas, the costuming drew me in and the violence kept me hooked. The layers of costuming added depth to each scene, making them dynamic and beautiful. Then, The Wrath would crash into the frame and the elegance would be muddied with blood and wounds. While this isn’t a bad thing, The Wrath never stops being jarring. It continually attempts to shock the audience and because of that, the story suffers.

The Wrath

Outside of Lady Shin, a character whose power and malevolence is beautiful to watch as it is terrifying, there aren’t many other characters that stick with you. That being said, you remember their situations. A dart stuck in the exorcist’s face slowly pulled out as our final girl must save herself from a dark hole, are all more interesting than the two characters. While the exorcist could have been a good character, his storyline felt detached from the whole leaving hole in the narrative.

Overall, The Wrath is gore-gous to watch, but when compared to Women’s Wail it pales in comparison. That being said, the setting, Lady Shin, and the costuming are enough to press play on this Shudder title.

The Wrath
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Overall, The Wrath is gore-gous to watch, but when compared to Women’s Wail it pales in comparison. That being said, the setting, Lady Shin, and the costuming are enough to press play on this Shudder title.