Remaking foreign horror films is far from a new idea at this point, despite the inherent struggles sometimes involved in translating concepts between two very different cultures. Especially popular in Hollywood – at least since 2002’s The Ring proved to be a massive success – is remaking Asian horror for English-speaking audiences; a practice that while not as popular as it once was, still occurs on a fairly regular clip.
It appears that the latest Asian horror entry to catch the eye of American producers is The Wailing, a South Korean film released just last year. A big box office hit in its home country, The Wailing managed to rake in nearly $50 million, and even earned nearly $800,000 during a limited theatrical run stateside. The Wailing was also a critical darling, appearing on many “best horror of 2016” lists, and currently sitting at a commanding 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In short, it’s not hard to see why America took notice.
According to Screen Daily, Scott Free – the production company owned and run by A-list director Ridley Scott – is circling an English-language remake of The Wailing, although no concrete plans have been finalized as of yet. The word comes courtesy of no less than Hosung Kim, head of FOX International Productions Korea. Kim tells Screen that he was recently contacted by a Scott Free executive with an offer to remake the film:
“They said The Wailing reminded them of films such as The Exorcist, The Ring and Seven. The locality and sensibility of The Wailing is so strong that I don’t think it would be easy to do a Western remake, and it will be important who directs it. So I told him I think the only director who could do the remake is Na Hong Jin. But we are still in early stages of talks.”
For those unfamiliar, The Wailing’s rather complex plot centers on Jong-goo (Kwak Do-won), a rather bumbling police officer in a small mountainside village in South Korea. His mundane existence is upended by the spread of a mysterious illness that is causing formerly normal villagers to snap and kill their families and/or themselves. While investigating the case, Jong-goo ends up on the trail of a reclusive Japanese man, who is suspected of being a demon. From there, things go from bad to worse, with Jong-goo’s young daughter soon in the crosshairs of the evil behind the deadly contagion.
The above plot outline is only a very surface level description of the rather dense story The Wailing offers, as many twists and turns await those who brave the film’s somewhat daunting 2 hour and 36 minute runtime. As Kim hints at above though, The Wailing may not be the easiest movie to remake for American audiences, as much of the plot is extremely tied up in eastern religious beliefs and local superstitions. It would indeed be quite interesting to see original director Na Hong Jin try his hand at westernizing things, in what would be his Hollywood debut.
We will keep you posted on The Wailing remake as more information becomes available.
Source: Screen Daily