User Reviews (13)

Add a Review

  • This is a fun movie directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and produced by Juzo Itami, who also appears in his last acting role as an Early Times whiskey-swilling mysterious good 'ol boy alongside wife and frequent star Nobuko Miyamoto. In the doc Building the Inferno from Criterion's 'Jigoku' disc, Kiyoshi Kurosawa mentions that he tried to get Jigoku's production designer Haruyasu Kurosawa to work on Sweet Home.

    It's a shame that didn't happen, however it still has fx by Dick Smith and Kazuhiro Tsuji. But don't let those names fool you, it is not an art-house film for the international market but an atmospheric pop flick. They manipulate shadows and use practical fx in a manner that suggests an appreciation for Bava, particularly in one sequence involving a medieval poleaxe and a wheelchair.

    The movie was made concurrent to the Famicom game of the same name by Resident Evil/Biohazard game designer Shinji Mikami. This is a key film in the development of the survival horror genre, so why is it only available on unsubbed VHS or crappy DVD-Rs of the old VSoM tape? There were major cuts and reshoots by Itami following the release of Kurosawa's theatrical cut, shaping it into a more commercially viable film. So Toho has that cut locked away, and following Itami's suicide and Kurosawa's relative success as a very different sort of storyteller there is probably little economic motive to release either cut in a restored version.
  • After I played the original Famicom game recently, dubbed the 'father of survival horror', and after being suitably impressed by the game itself I began my long and difficult search for this movie title. Although it remains unknown to anyone that I've consulted whether the movie was based on the game or vice-versa, either way both are excellent.

    I was impressed most of all by the consistently-excellent acting of Miyamoto Nobuko, whose appearances in film almost always guarantee at least one enjoyable character. However, all the acting in this was exceptional, especially NOKKO's, whom I had not seen in any film before this one. I am still unsure as to who played Kazuo, the main male lead, but he was of course excellent, although it was of course Akiko (Miyamoto) who demonstrated her personal strength throughout.

    How this film manages to convey a touching message about the bond between a mother and her child in the midst of terror and horrific special effects is beyond me, but it somehow manages to do it quite well, and it also stays very faithful in many ways to the game, which impressed me; it shows how well a story can be translated into both game and movie medium. Especially since this also seems to point out the weakness of similar Hollywood efforts, which almost always are disastrous.

    All in all, this movie was very well-paced, terrifying, and tense, but somehow remained touching as well. The scares weren't too graphic or obvious, but by the time the 'big guns' were pulled out on the effects, you were fully drawn in. A true classic and a great film.
  • First off, to anyone who sees the version I did. The film starts out with a commercial of the video game based on the movie. They show some scenes from the movie, and pretty good ones at that. So, if you start the flick and see a video game commercial I'd turn my head away just so you don't ruin anything for yourself.

    Japanese Horror is something of a hit or miss with me. I'm not a fan of the jerky ghosts who walk like they have rheumatoid arthritis, or the pale-faced long hair girls. I'm not saying those movies can't deliver a chill or two, but overall it's a very played out scare-tactic and it's almost eye-rollingly cliché nowadays. Well, back in 89' there was a movie called Sweet Home, and this flick suffers from zero of these problems. It's unique in it's scares and chills, and that's what I really commend it for.

    With a story revolving around a family/team heading to a abandoned mansion to investigate whether the house has a rare painting the story plays out like any haunted house flick. There may be something wrong, but no one really cares or believes. Well, after a little bit, they finally do begin to realize the mansion is cursed, but by the time they realize, the wheels of horror are in motion, and it's now a fight to stay alive.

    Sweet Home, isn't a perfect flick, there are some drags in the film, and I personally think the movie could have been a lot scarier. They had perfect set-ups mixed with perfect camera-shots, but only used them for the creepy factor instead of the scare-factor. You're presented with a sense of dread, but rarely do they ever really try to scare you. Nevertheless, the film does offer chills and enough of them to satisfy the viewer.

    But with a cool story, good acting, fantastic atmosphere/cinematography and great fx, the movie more than delivers enough for an entertaining and unique little haunted house flick. If you're into Japanese horror/haunted house flicks, give this flick a shot. It's worth it.
  • A television crew enter the sprawling Mamiya mansion to film the restoration of a fresco painted by the artist who lived there decades before.They discover not one but several frescoes including one that seems to depict the death of a young child in some kind of furnace.That night the temperamental presenter wanders out into the grounds of the house and digs up a coffin containing the charred remains of an infant.It soon becomes apparent that the child's mother,although dead herself has not left the house and is still angered by her loss."Sweet Home" is obviously inspired by Tobe Hooper's "Poltergeist" and Robert Wise's "The Haunting".The special effects made by Dick Smith are spectacular and there is a good amount of grue including dismemberments and melting faces.The action is fast-paced,the script is well-written and the characters are engaging.8 out of 10.A hidden gem.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The question is do you want story or gore?

    If you want a story over special effects and blood splattering then this is the movie for you.

    The story involves a film crew going to the home of a long dead artist in order to film the murals painted on all of the walls of the house The paintings, which almost no one ever saw while the artist was alive have now become completely unseen by anyone living. The crew feels recording the legendary paintings will be the perfect addition to their film. The towns folk of course know that this is not a good idea and that the house is not a place that should be disturbed and they try to prevent the visit.

    Of course the crew goes and of course bad things begin to happen. What happens and why, is the rest of the movie.

    The joy of this film for me is that this is one of the rare horror films that works from start to finish with no real bumps in logic. What is happening or more importantly why things are happening is reasonable to the point of making some people I know want to scream. I can't really explain that without telling you the end and I will not do that under pain of death.

    SPOILER ABOUT A DIFFERENT FILM AND AN ALLUSION TO THIS ONE: Its like the end of 13th Warrior where the final battle ends suddenly because the lead bad guy is killed and his men ride off. Many people I know hate the film because the battle is cut so short and seemingly out of left field, but if you think about it, that is what would happen. The same goes here, you find out whats happening and you'll either love it because it makes sense or you hate it because it seems to come from left field, but really doesn't. END SPOILERS

    With all of the Horror films coming out of Japan and elsewhere I'm shocked that this one never was released here in th US, especially in light of the fact that legendary make-up effects man Dick Smith was responsible for the effects.

    If you love haunted house thrillers and well plotted ghost stories that actually play fair then see this movie. I know its difficult to do but its worth the effort to find it, its one of the great lost jewels of horror.
  • This film was made into a game by Capcom for the Japanese Nintendo system in 1989. This game was also called Suito Homu (Sweet Home in English). This led to another game in 1996 called RESIDENT EVIL! So, a whole genre of video games (called Survival Horror) traces back to this movie and its game! That's the main reason I give it a 10.

    Almost everything about the Resident Evil games was drawn from "Sweet Home!" There are monsters, it's set in a mansion, you are fighting for the lives of your team members while trying to solve a mystery, and you are collecting keys, weapons and other items are you investigate the place.

    For more info on this, check WIKIPEDIA.ORG under "Sweet Home" and my books,"The Sweet Home of Resident Evil" and "Resident Evil is Snapping at your Heels" on LULU.COM.
  • I would agree with the other reviewers that this is essentially a Japanese take on POLTERGEIST. Do not let that stop you from seeing it however.

    If there was any way to truly describe this film, it would be if Dario Argento (during his heyday in the late 70's) directed a film with Japanese stars. Every shot has the look and the lighting from films like SUSPIRIA, PHENOMENA, TENEBRAE, even down to the tracking shots and steadycam work.

    Which brings me to another point: if there is anyone who has a VHS/ laserdisc/ DVD of this film (preferrably with english subtitles), please let us know. I have a copy but it could have better image quality.

    Regardless, seek this film out. You will not be disappointed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film is by Kiroshi Kurosawa, better known for his films Charisma, Seance, Kairu (Pulse), and Cure. His work is erratic, in my opinion (I loved Kairu, but found Charisma tedious and self-important), so I wasn't sure what to expect with Sweet Home.

    What I found was a good old-fashioned haunted house, with a love story on the side that actually drew in my interest. The three main characters are interesting - there is a father, his daughter, and his co-worker who is enamored of him, and he her, but neither of them have the spine to admit it, so the daughter keeps trying to set them up.

    They are part of a film crew with a group of much less interesting people who are going to film a documentary about a painter who lived in this big old mansion. Well, the mansion is haunted, and badly. The mural painted on the walls gives hints of the problem, and people start going insane, dying, and the shadows come to life. A local character, which I think I was also in Hiruko Goblin Hunter, comes to help.

    The basic problem is that the evil manifests as killer shadows, which makes the ghosts difficult to fight. The hero at one point decides to use klieg lights, but the local character points out that the power lights will only make MORE shadows, and ends with the chilling remark "There is a shadow inside your fist."

    The movie is by-the-numbers in some respects. Every 15-20 minutes is another shocking gore scene - you can almost set your watch by it. The ghost at the end of the film is a really awesome puppet which I totally adored, and one death scene ranks up there with the decomposition of the two zombies at the end of the first Evil Dead film.

    I can't say I was ever gripping the edge of my seat with terror, but it did the job. I cared about at least some of the characters who were threatened. There was enough gore to please me, and enough romance to please my wife, plus heroism, cowardice, madness, and some interesting shots. Well worth a look for horror buffs.
  • This Japanese film, loosely inspired by POLTERGEIST, has some great scenes of eye-popping horror action, rendered by Dick Smith (of THE EXORCIST fame). The bulk of the film, however, seems to drag tremendously in comparison to these scenes; maybe I'm poisoned by Hollywood pacing, but I don't think so. Worthwhile viewing for fans of Japanese horror, but not a masterpiece.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Consider this a Japanese version of The Haunting while remembering that the movie may not be revolutionary, but the video game - which was released at the very same time - certainly was*.

    That game's creator, Tokuro Fujiwara, toured the film's set to gather inspiration for the game. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse) gave him the freedom to do whatever he wanted with the game, which laid the groundwork for survival horror games like Resident Evil.

    In the film - and video game - a small film crew visits the abandoned mansion of artist Ichiro Mamiya in the hopes of finding several paintings he left behind and restoring them. However, minutes after they walk in the front door, poltergeist activity erupts.

    Soon, the ghost of the artist's wife, Lady Mamiya, has possessed one of them. It's soon revealed that she and the artist lost a child after he fell into the house's incinerator. She then began killing children to give the ghost of her child playmates before committing suicide. Now, she haunts the home, unless the crew can figure out how to help her pass into the next world.

    Neither the game nor the movie were ever released in the U.S., but thanks to the internet, you can experience both.

    *In an era when video game adaptions had little or nothing to do with the movies they had the license for, Sweet Home actually expands on the story of the movie.
  • benjyboom16 April 2020
    Warning: Spoilers
    Pros: Awesome gore, all three death scenes are total spectacles and a lot of fun Shadow effects are cool Nice setting

    Cons: Not very consistent logically, new rules are added and old rules are forgotten at random Very cookie cutter characters, everyone is a cliche to a degree Anticlimactic final battle, even if the prop monster looked nice Fairly boring after the halfway mark

    Best part: the old man's death, best example of spectacle, very cool prop or props, just a great treat to watch Worst part: the old man squeezing the bottle, annoying, very long, nonsensical scene, and apparently it's how you beat the villain, a tough scene to watch
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this movie recently thinking that it would be scary, I was wrong. The movie isn't really that scary, it mostly has the usual gross horror special effects and killings. I was surprised at how "stupid" the movie was. A few examples, if you are working under a jacked-up car and listening to a sports game, do you get excited and start hopping while you're still underneath? If someone sees a small, strange, man-made rock formation with a skull-shaped rock on top, should they kick it over so they can use one of the rocks to break open a shed? If someone is killed with an axe, why would they turn into a pile of melted wax and how does a character recognize that pile of melted wax as one of their friends? This is just a few of the nonsensical things. The characters in the movie are not the usual horror cliché, pausing when they should be running, not picking up weapons etc., they are complete idiots. This movie would be great entertainment for a bad movie night or if you enjoy B movies (I do but, this was too much). Don't expect a work of art like other horror movies.
  • Not the best horror film. But not everything is bad, production design and shot composition are actually pretty good. And music was good at times and really bad at some others. It was a bit too long for what it was in the end but nonetheless interesting to watch.