Who says you can’t blend supernatural horror with historical drama?!
Vengeful spirits have long been the subject of horror films, particularly those imported from Asia. Much like how the American urban legend of a hook-handed killer gave birth to the slasher subgenre, ghost stories in Asia have greatly influenced what we’ve come to call “J-Horror”. The Wrath follows in this long line of tradition.
A Cursed Family
The film begins with a pretty over the top supernatural murder. It’s a great opening, but it sets a tone that makes us expect much more intensity than we actually get. We then see a woman traveling to a family, where she is to marry one of their sons.
The only catch is, if she gets pregnant, she will be attacked by a spirit which has been killing off all the sons of the family. Once she is pregnant, the spirit follows suit to terrorize her, and she slowly learns just why the spirit has it out for this family.
Meanders in the Middle
As previously mentioned, the film has a strong opening, and a very exciting finale that goes full Evil Dead. However the plot really seems to slow down during the second act. It’s still filled with beautiful cinematography and strong acting, but it sort of forgets that it’s horror for a while. It’s only a 94 minute film, so at the end of the day, it’s not that big a deal.
Feminist Revenge Story?
Ultimately, The Wrath could be interpreted as the vengeful spirit of women getting back at a society that greatly mistreated them. Without getting too much into spoilers, the evil spirit was wrongfully killed while pregnant, after being accused of sleeping around and the paternity of the baby being called into question.
Our main character is a woman who spends the whole film being used and told what to do by everyone around her. It really shines a light on just how awful life for women could be in these centuries past. And perhaps it’s no coincidence that the stereotypical vengeful spirit of Asian horror is usually a female ghost who died tragically. It’s an interesting perspective that makes the film all the more interesting.
Overall, The Wrath is a solid piece of historical horror. While it does get a little slow in the middle, the third act is enough to redeem it and end the story in a strong and disturbing manner!
The Wrath is streaming exclusively on Shudder!