9 May 2012 | paul_haakonsen
A Japanese horror movie out of the ordinary...
"Kaidan" was a rather odd mix of movies. It blended together elements from typical Japanese horror, then threw in elements of samurai movie, supernatural element and ordinary drama movie. The end result, well, that was a mixed result, at least for me.
I enjoyed the movie in the sense that it was a nice step away from the traditional (and often stereotypical) Japanese horror movies that have a tendency of resembling one another quite a lot. That being said, then it should also be said that "Kaidan" is not at all scary. There are no scare moments that makes you jump out of your seat. Instead, "Kaidan" is running on psychological terror and that of a traditional curse. As the viewer, we know the curse that is put upon the main character, and as such, sit around knowing that something bad will happen, despite him trying to atone for his wrong-doings.
Being set in ancient Japan, "Kaidan" was a nice change of scenery for a Japanese horror movie. It was nice to see a horror movie set in this age, because of the simplicity and purity of that age and surrounding. A nice step away from the neon-lit Tokyo of the 21st century. And being set in that time, it was easier to buy into a curse actually being present and taking effect.
There was something majestic and grand about the movie. Perhaps it was the way it was shot, combined with the age in which it took place, plus the set and props were really great. Lots of nice detail and the scenery was so nicely made. It was like you were right there with the people. It was really a beautiful movie to watch.
The story, well, it moved onward at a fairly slow pace. But somehow the storyline picks you up and leaves you wanting to see what happens next. Story-wise, then don't expect too much of a complex story or too much adrenaline-filled thrills, because that is not here. The movie is slow and builds up suspense, and it works well enough.
As for the acting, then it was nice to see a movie with all actors and actresses that I can't recall having seen elsewhere. At least not off the top of my mind. And the people did good jobs with their given roles.
If you watch "Kaidan" for thrills and scares, then you are in for somewhat of a disappointment. However, if you want a Japanese horror movie that is somewhat out of the ordinary you see in Japanese horror movies, then "Kaidan" might be a great choice. Just prepare yourself for a psychological horror movie that is not fast-paced. Despite it being a good enough movie, with amazing setting, then I somehow think that the movie didn't accomplish all that it could have. There was something missing from the movie to make it unique. And that was a shame, because "Kaidan" could really have left a mark and set a new standard for Japanese horror movies.