- Hideo Nakata
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Thursday, July 07, 2005
All this takes Reiko Asakawa into one of the scariest investigations seen in recent cinema. There’s death, psychics, ghosts, and a curse, all mixed into one deadly video. Why does it exist? Where does it come from? Who’s involved? Whatever happened to the people who died? Too many questions and too few answers. The clock ticks and desperation starts to conquer. It’s a nail-biting scenario if there ever was one.
Based on Kôji Suzuki’s novel, this film, which I hear is the most profitable horror film in Japanese history, sure has what it takes to give the thrills. It’s not very coherent, sometimes not quite comprehensible, and the direction of Hideo Nakata is nothing remarkable by horror film standards, but somehow it comes to life and grabs you, nails you, and has you watching your back at all times to see if someone’s coming from the other world to get you.
Nakata’s work is not all that bad however. He’s sure got an eye for performances, and he goes much more for personal drama than cheap horror, which is good. He relies on the characters, and the casting which is magnificent. Matsushima is not only incredibly gorgeous but also completely credible as a first cocky then desperate professional and mother. Sanada is also quite something as her ex, who turns to have a good deal of depth in supernatural levels; by the way, he slightly reminded me of Toshiro Mifune. Daisuke Ban is very effective in a few scenes as a man with a few deadly secrets. And Rikiya Otaka is absolutely remarkable as Asakawa’s little son, himself a spooky presence throughout.
Even though I had seen the American remake before, I was still surprised and shock by this film’s twists and turns. It’s so unique in its depiction that it has you in stitches even if you know the story. And despite its tendency towards the stupid, it never becomes ridiculous, which is admirable.
All in all, a fine Japanese horror film, well worth a look.
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