It has been said that Hausu is like Beetlejuice as directed by Dario Argento, only about ten times better than that would be. While this description is admittedly vague, it's hard to think of one that comes any closer to being satisfactory. Nobuhiko Obayashi's film defies comparison, seamlessly blending comedy, horror, and gorgeous visuals in a way that really must be witnessed in order to be appreciated.
The plot itself is nothing very new, and is a kind of supernatural take on Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" -- Seven Japanese girls venture off to visit Grandmother in her big, spooky house, unaware that the house is in fact a demon that consumes virgins. One by one, they are killed in increasingly bizarre ways -- One is eaten by a piano, one by bedding, to go on would be giving away far too much.
But the story isn't really what's important here. Suffice it to say you have never seen a film like this before -- part satire, part camp, part coming-of-age story, merged with horror that is truly disturbing. The laughs are terrific and the scares are genuine; you may often feel unsure whether to laugh or shudder, and don't be surprised to catch yourself doing both at once. As if this weren't enough, add to that Obayashi's completely unique visual flair; not a single shot goes by without astounding imagery and effects.
It is impossible to adequately describe Hausu for someone who hasn't seen it. But if what I've written has made it sound even the slightest bit interesting to you, you owe it to yourself to seek it out and see for yourself. Oh, and there are no subtitles, but you don't need them. Seriously.