23 November 2001 | sharptongue
The lead actor is regarded as Japan's Laurence Olivier, and is perhaps Japan's top Shakespearian. I've seen several terrific performances of his, including in the outstanding SEPPUKU.
Which makes this film all the more of a let-down. Upfront, I must declare that I watched this film on a VCD with Chinese subs only, and without my resident translator, which, of course, means I clearly missed much of the fine detail and perhaps some subtleties. However, I believe that good film (and, for that matter, bad film as well !) tends to transcend language barriers.
I think the main problem is the script. The story is very uneven. Apparently normal life goes on for quite a while, then spooky things start to happen, then normal life returns and stay for ages, then a few more spooky things happen. There appears to be none of the buildup that one expects from a good scary ghost tale, regardless of whether it's in Japan or Hollywood. And Tatsuya's acting is unrestrained, which is okay when his character is getting scared, but he lays it on too thick for too long.
I note with extra horror that there is a Japanese version of this film which goes for over three hours. That is truly horrifying.
It is with some sadness that I say that I cannot recommend this film.