11 April 2007 | drownnnsoda
Compelling And Creepy Asian Horror.
Another one of the "8 Films To Die For" from After Dark's Horror Film Festival, this little Japanese chiller is a complex and spooky film. The movie follows Nagisa, a Japanese actress who gets the part in a horror movie that is based on a real murder spree that took place in a large hotel forty-some years ago. At first she is excited that she has gotten the part, and is looking forward to filming, although it is a "scary movie" that she is being a part of. But things begin to get a little spooky, when Nagisa begins seeing a ghostly little girl everywhere. Her visions intensify when the film's director takes the cast to the real hotel where the actual murders happened, for inspiration. It seems she has a connection with the hotel and the grisly murders... but how, and why? She may find out the answer very soon...
I haven't seen a lot of Asian horror, I saw part of the original "Ju-On", and I've seen the remakes of those films, but that was about it. Although I haven't seen much of it, I know what it's like pretty well. So, I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this film - luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. "Reincarnation", or "Rinne" in it's original language, is a solid supernatural horror film that rose far above my expectations. The writing here is really nicely done, I must say. It has a few inconsistencies here and there, but nothing too major. About midway through the film, I thought that I had everything figured out - I was almost positive that I knew what the whole plot "twist" was going to turn out to be. I was pretty confident that I had all of it figured out. Then, during the final five minutes of the film, my entire assumption disintegrated, leaving me minorly shocked. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I did not see the plot twist coming. I suppose what I was expecting to be the twist in the film was a set-up to trick the audience, and I have to admit it worked on me.
Along with the intelligent writing, director Takashi Shimuzu (who directed "Ju-On" and "Ju-On 2", and both American remakes of those films ("The Grudge" and "The Grudge 2"), has an eye for the eerie. Unlike the style that is found in "The Grudge" films, "Reincarnation" boasts a subtle spookiness that I personally find much more menacing than those annoying 'jump scares'. There are numerous shots and scenes in this film that are hard to forget, and the direction is great. Lots of creepy shots and disturbing imagery (the homemade snuff footage is beyond eerie) really make this a creepy film. The music is good as well, and fits the movie perfectly. It's slow and subtle, just like the film is itself. Acting-wise, I'd have to say the movie succeeds as well. The performers are pretty believable, and while there is the language barrier, I thought they were really good. Again, the conclusion to this movie is the real kicker. I was surprised and creeped out by the way the entire thing came to a close.
Overall, "Reincarnation" is a really good supernatural horror film. Take your traditional ghost story, throw in a hotel, and the reincarnation theme, and you've got this movie. If you enjoy slow moving horror films and/or are a fan of Japanese horror, I'd recommend this film. It has a few very minor problems, but the good easily outweighs the bad. And the ending is really surprising. I'm not sure if it fits everyone's tastes, but for me, I couldn't have picked a better foreign horror flick. 8/10.