22 July 2002 | bob the moo
Just plain creepy really unnerving film
Rumours abound about a video tape that, once you watch it you have a week before you die. When a relative dies in a way that suggests she saw the video, journalist Reiko tracks down the tape and recklessly watches it. She finds she is under the curse and shows it to her ex-husband to get his help. When her son watches the tape Reiko and Ryuji race against time to discover the meaning behind the curse to be able to lift it.
I came to this only knowing the hype and the barest bits of the story. I knew it was meant to be scary and I wasn't disappointed. The plot is good in it's one word description but there are a few holes in it and something's aren't well explained. However it is a good story to follow as it is a form of a ghost hunt as they try to unravel the mystery. The whole thing has an air of uneasiness about it.
The film has some very scary moments especially the ending which I won't even hint at. However for the most part it is just plain creepy which is even worse. There's no blood or gore just a real sense of being uncomfortable. The director has seen teen horrors before so he teases us he has shots of people with doors just over their shoulder, or the TV lingering in the rear of the shot knowing that we are conditioned to expect something to jump out but then nothing does. Instead the scares come slowly and blatantly really not being shocking but just making your skin crawl.
The acting is superb all round although Sanada is a little stony at times but he gets better. The real star is the director who uses music and sound effects to get the eerie effect but also uses images that are weird to just creep out the whole film. I hope Hollywood directors learn what can be done with subtly rather than multimillion pound monsters or effects.
I have said before that Fire Walk With Me was one of the creepiest films I've seen. And that was for the same reason, just making me feel uncomfortable and unnerved. Here this little gem takes that to a whole new level.