15 May 2015 | kannibalcorpsegrinder
Troublesome but still creepy J-horror effort
After falling in love, a salesman allows his wife's death to occur igniting a powerful ghostly curse that befalls him and whomever he loves that carries on through the years and must find a way to break the curse.
Overall this was a pretty disappointing effort that should've had a lot going for. What is so enjoyable about this one is the fact that this one manages to perfectly expose the time-period setting here as feudal Japan in the background serves as quite an impactful location for all the ghostly activities. The cramped villages, the formal society and the countryside air provide a spectacular place for a traditional old-school ghost story to take place and that makes for a chilling setting here when they start occurring in the second half. That's really where this gets good as the fruition of the curse start coming into play as the ghostly hauntings that prevent his search for normalcy are incredibly enjoyable and truly chilling, as the encounter at the lake with his second wife are quite creepy with the stomping footsteps of someone approaching, the ghostly eyes and the possessed attempting to strange him resulting in the chilling realization of his actions being a fantastic encounter along with the a later scene of him appearing to his son only to realize his cursed ghost is in the room with him and drags him into a ghostly portal and emerging at a lake where he falls victim to another chilling ghostly trap that continues on the curse. The finale works well with the action-packed chasing and brutal slashings on his pursuers allowing for plenty of graphic bloodletting to go along with that frantic action to end this on a high note, but otherwise this was pretty troubling. The biggest issue here is the fact that there's just not a whole lot of interesting horror elements going on here, for the first half of this contains absolutely nothing at all beyond setting up the doomed romance that starts the curse. That this takes up to fifty minutes before even starting the situation, there's plenty of times here where it just doesn't get going with any sort of urgency or immediacy in signaling the ghostly activities that crop up, and it tends to feel more like a tragic romance than out-and-out horror even throughout the later half when he finds himself continually struck under the confines of the curse. This drags on for quite a few times here as the time and period setting here undermine the horror efforts with their strictly rigid society and completely impersonal approach which tends to let this go for the truly chilling set-ups. The other big flaw here is a completely confusing and unnecessary prologue that tells of a samurai's actions leading to a curse involving a mysterious lake in the area which has no part in the rest of the film at all for their familial status doesn't impact them, the lake isn't shown until the finale and it's his actions that drive the curse more than anything so to put that there is a little awkward. These tend to lower this one enough when it could've been great.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence, Language, a sensual sex scene and mild drug use.