'4444444444 (1998)' is one of two short films created by Takashi Shimizu for the anthology film, 'School Ghost Story G (1998)'. Interestingly, Shimizu's two shorts make up less than 10% of the final film, yet these are the segments that have made the most impact. This is primarily because they act as precursors to 'Ju-On: The Curse (2000)' (as well as the subsequent 'Grudge' franchise); in fact, they act almost as missing scenes from that film. This movie focuses on a teenager who notices a ringing phone and decides to answer it, hearing only the apparent "meow" of a cat. It's atmospheric for what it is, crafting a palpable tension across its short length. However, its payoff is pretty weak, almost functioning as the punchline to a joke because of how absurd and unthreatening it is. The same gag works much better in subsequent films, but here it leaves a bit of a sour taste. The short isn't bad, by any means, but it isn't scary and it isn't all that compelling, either. It's worth watching if you plan to seek out subsequent 'Grudge' movies, though. 5/10.
- Mar 14, 2022
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