Sunday, October 08, 2006

JU-ON

Directed by Shimizu Takashi, 2003, 92 min. starring Megumi Okina, Misaki Ito, Misa Uehara, Takako Fuji and Yui Ichikawa.
In the post-Ring climate of Japanese cinema, there has been the almost Scarlett O'Hara-like search for the new wave of Japanese horror. Whilst Suicide Circle almost came close, there still wasn't that frenzied anticipation that came about at the mere mention of its title. Perhaps it was the bold and somewhat cultural ideas found in that film that didn't allow it to crossover in a big way the same way Ring did, or maybe the rest of the world was looking for a "safe" horror movie. Anyone who's a fan would know that Suicide Circle is anything but safe.
Enter Takashi Shimizu, a bright young Japanese filmmaker who just looooves horror films. He takes a universal scare tactic (the haunted house) and turns it on its head by giving it an apocalyptic, heart-freezing premise that was sure to scare anyone's pants off. Throw in a modern, non-linear way of storytelling, finger-twisting build-ups, climactic dénouements, and a couple of blue-skinned and (occasionally) blood-covered spooks and you’ve got the makings of a fine chiller.
That, my friends, was the TV movie version of Ju-on.
In the hopes of reaching a larger audience, a theatrical version of the Ju-on tale was brought to life by Shimizu himself. Armed with a larger budget and all the CGI he could get his hands on, Shimizu tries his best to capture some of the terror and cleverness of his TV movies for the big screen. But while he succeeds in trying to be clever, he fails on the crucial terror aspect.
Synopsis
Like the video versions, the story is divided into several time frames with intertwining characters and plot points.
RIKA – We begin with a volunteer social worker named Rika who gets an assignment to check on an old lady, because, apparently, no-one else could do it. Doubting her abilities, Rika balks at first, but gets cornered into it, so she gives in and visits the house of the damned (so to speak).
Upon arrival, she immediately picks up on an ominous atmosphere. With no-one to open the door, she lets herself in and discovers the home in disarray. She finds the old woman and proceeds to inquire about her companions - none seem present. Rika explores the house and discovers a little boy hiding in the closet – a taped-up closet at that. She asks the boy's name, to which he replies, "Toshio"... it's the same boy from the TV movies...
KATSUYA – Jumping to another time frame, we see a young married couple, Katsuya and Kazumi, living in the house of horrors, together with the husband's ailing mother. The house is once more in complete disarray, since the wife has to tend to the ailing mother whilst being a housewife to her husband. At the onset, you can see Kazumi has some sort of resentment about this arrangement. It doesn’t help that a mischievous Toshio topples glasses and leaves handprints all over the place...
HITOMI – On to another time frame. Hitomi leaves a message on Katsuya's answering machine, wondering about the previous night’s events. Shrugging it off, she carries on with her business, but gets a phone call from her brother. As she answers, all she hears is the now all-too-familiar burping/croaking on the other line. Freaked out, she hangs up and heads into the ladies' room to splash some water on her face. What she gets instead is a visit from a dark shadow lady, sending her running to the guard’s office. He investigates, but as she watches on the surveillance camera feed, she sees him enveloped by the same dark shadow. She freaks, and runs home.
In the sanctuary of her own apartment, she feels safe, but not for long. Turning the TV off, she hides under the covers hoping for sanctuary - but Hitomi realizes that not even her duvet offers security…
TOYAMA – continuing the time frame from the Rika section, we see a bunch of cops investigating the scene of the crime. This being the old lady's death and the missing husband and wife. After searching the house, they decide to give Katsuya’s phone a ring. Just as they do, ringing can be heard somewhere in the house... They follow the sound up to the attic, where they find a couple of corpses...

JU-REI


Actors: Chinatsu Wakatsuki, Mirai Ueno, Eriko Kazuto
Directors: Koji Shiraishi
Format: NTSC, Subtitled
Language: Japanese
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Studio: Pathfinder Home Ent.
DVD Release Date: Nov 2 2004
ASIN: B0002ZDW7Q
Amazon.ca Sales Rank: #25,492 in DVD
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Product Description
SynopsisYou've been haunted by the vengeful Sadako in the Ring movies and felt the wrath of The Grudge wraiths as they stalked their unfortunate victims from the shadows, now face an entirely new terror when an urban legend comes to terrifying life in this chiller from director Koji Shiraishi. Over the years, whispered rumors of a black-hooded killer have filled the hallways of a quiet high school and had the students in a constant state of nervous fear. When the young girls of the school begin to die at an alarming rate after seeing a mysterious cloaked figure, it appears as if the rumors have finally come to life. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

MIRROW

Plot Description:
A Widow moves to a new neighborhood and a new house with her shy, rebellious teenage daughter Megan. In the house is an antique mirror which Megan takes an instant liking to and keeps in her room unaware of it's dark past or the evil demonic force which lurks within the mirror.
Movie Information:
Starring:
Karen Black
Yvonne De Carlo
William Sanderson
Rainbow HarvestDirected By:
Marina SargentiRated: R Genre: horror Runtime: 104 minutes Original Theatrical Release: 01 January, 1990

SCARY FACE

Genre: Horror (more)
Also Known As:The Wig (Philippines: English title) (DVD title) (Singapore: English title) Scary Hair (International: English title) Runtime: South Korea:106 min Country: South Korea Language: Korean Color: Color Certification: Singapore:NC-16 / South Korea:15 / Hong Kong:IIB Quotes: Hee-ju's ghost in Soo-hyun's body: Teacher. It's me, Hee-ju. Ki-seok: [Confused] Soo-hyun... Hee-ju's ghost in Soo-hyun's body: I'm Hee-ju, not Soo-hyun... Feel me. I'm not a man anymore. Ki-seok: You're not Hee-ju... Hee-ju's dead. Hee-ju's ghost in Soo-hyun's body: I'm alive right now! I've waited so long for this moment. I so wanted to reveal myself to you... Ki-seok: Hee-ju, it's no use. Let Soo-hyun go. That body isn't yours. Hee-ju's ghost in Soo-hyun's body: You liked me. You loved me! Ki-seok: I loved you... But ... Hee-ju's ghost in Soo-hyun's body: Love is for one person only!... And it never wavers.(more)

FACE

INFECTION

Excellent little Japanese horror film . . . I had this little gem recorded on my DVR last week. Tonight when I pressed play, I had no idea what it was about. When I saw the subtitles, I cringed a bit because while I usually end up really enjoying subtitled movies I was a bit tired when I turned it on. Well, I had absolutely no problems focusing on the subtitles in Infection as I was riveted from the beginning of the film.We begin the story in a hospital where it is plain to see that both the doctors and the nurses are overworked and exhausted. They have even put a sign on the front doors that they are not accepting any new patients because they are just over run. During these first few scenes we also keep hearing a call from an ambulance begging for help for a seriously infected man that is covered in some mysterious black rash.As we progress through the film, there is an unfortunate accident that befalls one of the patients who is a serious burn victim. One of the nurses injects him with the wrong drug at Dr. Akiba's (Koichi Sato) order and he ends up dying. The five hospital staff in the room then have a frantic discussion as to whether or not to report what truly happened to the patient or to cover it up and not get into trouble. Of course, they choose the latter and the consequences of their dubious decision soon begin to befall them all.With a decent amount of goriness and hints at goriness, Infection weaves an intriguing tale of lies and the guilt those lies cause to fester from within. It is one of the better Japanese horror tales I have seen lately. I can tell you this much, watching this film has definitely steered me away from the medical profession altogether, especially if it involves a hospital over in Japan.

ONE MISSED CALL 3


Director
Takashi Miike
Featuring
Atshushi Ida, Renji Ishibashi, Goro Kishitani, Yutaka Matsushige, Anna Nagata, Kou Shibasaki, Mariko Tsutsui, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi
Composer
Koji Endo
Director of Photography
Hideo Yamamoto
Producer
Yoichi Arishige

Naoki Sato
Screenwriter
Miwako Daira
Source Writer
Yasushi Akimoto
Notes
Standard Screen; Soundtrack English
Description
Takashi Miike, the director of such cult classics as the DEAD OR ALIVE trilogy, ICHI THE KILLER, and AUDITION, takes on the Japanese horror film with ONE MISSED CALL. Mixing in elements of Hideo Nakata's THE RING and Takashi Shimizu's JU-ON: THE GRUDGE, Miike creates a scarefest sure to rattle even the most experienced horror movie lover. Pop sensation Kou Shibasaki stars as Yumi Nakamura, a teenager who gets freaked out when her best friend, Yoko (Anna Nagata), gets a call on her cell phone--from herself, screaming, dated three days in the future. Three days later, at the exact time of the call--which had an ominous, strange ring tone--it all comes true, with Yoko screaming as she dies. The calls continue as Yumi's friends fear that they will be next to hear the ring tone that foretells death. Meanwhile, Yumi is joined by Hiroshi (Shin'ichi Tsutsumi), whose sister was recently killed and who wants to get to the bottom of the mystery before more young women die. Miike masterfully manipulates the audience, with plenty of scares around each corner, lots of terrifying images, violently dizzying flash cutting, and creepy music by Koji Endo. ONE MISSED CALL is one scary movie that should not be missed.


ONE MISSED CALL 2


Year:
2005
Cell phones can be scary in One Missed Call 2
Director:
Renpei Tsukamoto

Cast:
Mimura, Yu Yoshizawa, Asaka Seto, Peter Ho Yun-Tung, Renji Ishibashi
The Skinny:
The evil cell phone message of doom returns in One Missed Call 2, a slick sequel to Takashi Miike's hit film that looks a lot better than it actually is. If you've seen Ring, Ju-On, or The Eye, then you've already seen this movie. Really.
Reviewby Sanjuro:
Remember when Japanese horror films were innovative and even scary? Back when Hideo Nakata's Ring debuted, it irrevocably changed the landscape of Asian horror, inspiring a legion of imitators not only in Japan, but in Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand as well. Quite a few of those films proved to be just as inventive and terrifying as their ground-breaking filmic predecessor, thus continuing this seemingly endless wave of Asian horror films flooding cinemas around the globe. But even as quality scary movies continued to be released in Asia, a larger glut of these pictures were little more than glorified B-movie rip-offs looking to cash in on the lucrative horror trend. Plots were recycled, images re-used, and fairly quickly, the horrifying figure of the pale-faced, long-haired woman in white popularized by the Ring and Ju-On films became a stock horror cliché. Although admittedly that image still holds some terrifying potency if utilized effectively, films that rely too heavily on these and other scare tactics without any understanding of what it takes to legitimately frighten audiences seem to be lowering the quality of Asian horror as a whole. While familiarity breeds contempt, uninspired familiarity breeds boredom and irrelevancy. In 2004, cinematic gore-meister Takashi Miike tried his hand at Asian horror with One Missed Call, featuring actress Kou Shibasaki in the lead role. Instead of a cursed VHS tape as was the case with Ring, the gimmick in One Missed Call was far more technologically advanced: after hearing a spooky ringtone, hapless victims received a prophetic message of doom on their cell phones and ended up dying a horrific death some three days later. Although the film was released to mixed reviews, it went on to become a huge box office hit in Japan, practically insuring the existence of One Missed Call 2, a quickie 2005 follow-up featuring a largely new cast. And the actors aren't the only thing that's new: Miike doesn't return for the sequel, turning over the directorial reins to television director Renpei Tsukamoto. However, considering both films, it's highly questionable whether any of these differences actually matters. In One Missed Call 2, the dreaded cell phone curse returns to wreak havoc on the lives of a young teacher named Kyoko (one-name only TV star Mimura) and her loyal boyfriend Naoto (Yu Yoshizawa). While enjoying a night out with friends at a Chinese restaurant, Kyoko receives an eerie call, but strangely, instead of dying three days later, tragedy strikes almost immediately and not to Kyoko directly. Since one of the deaths in the original film occurred on television, both Kyoko and Naoto are familiar with the urban legend and find themselves at a loss on how to solve the problem. Luckily for them, a plucky journalist named Takako (Asaka Seto) is on the case, enlisting the help of Detective Motomiya (a returning Renji Ishibashi) who's pieced together quite a bit about how the curse works. Refreshingly, Motomiya isn't the clichéd authority figure who immediately dismisses the supernatural in favor of a scientific explanation (an act of arrogance that serves as the veritable kiss of death in horror movies). No, Motomiya knows full well that the curse is real and applies his detective skills to the realm of the supernatural, saving not only characters, but the viewers some valuable time in "cutting to the chase." Their investigation leads Takao to Taiwan to visit her estranged husband (Peter Ho). It turns out that he's been researching the curse, too, and it's spreading throughout Asia like a virus. Thinking they've got the mystery solved, the heroes band together to undo the curse, but will they be successful? And if they are, wouldn't that hurt the chances for a sequel? While the plot described here may sound interesting and even logical, it doesn't play that way onscreen. Yes, the film is slick and the actors are pretty, but it's little more than disposable entertainment, if that. The reason why Takako goes to Taiwan seems to make sense at first (the ghostly villainess is shown to have Taiwanese origins), yet the filmmakers complicate it by suggesting that she has a ghostly predecessor - that is, there are two curses at play. Whether the older ghost in the sequel played an Obi-Wan Kenobi-like mentor in the afterlife to the ghost in the original One Missed Call is unclear, but the fact that they both use cell phones to dole out their portents of doom seems both highly coincidental and confusing. Even worse, the film doesn't seem to be very consistent on exactly how the prophetic cell phone messages affect people. Although it's clear from the early going that victims suffer a grisly death, it's then revealed that the call can also make people do bad things and not realize it. Add to that a confusing plotline involving Takako's supposedly dead twin sister, and the result is a muddled film with too many dangling plot threads to even approach comprehensibility. The main problem with the film, however, is how derivative it is. Literally, one could spend the entire movie listing all the swipes from other, better Asian horror films. Dark Water? Check. Ju-On and its sequels? You bet. In fact, the entire Taiwan segment borrows liberally from the Thailand portion of The Eye and even more shamelessly, from the Ring series (most notably, the infamous and iconic well). This reliance on imitation is so distracting that it creates a distance between the viewer and the film. "Suspension of disbelief" is vital for a horror film to work, yet because of these and other missteps, I never once forgot that I was watching a movie. The film is by no means unwatchable, and as a fan of Asian horror, I have to admit that I found that despite its extensive flaws, the film was somewhat engaging as it was happening. But let's not kid ourselves; this is little more than mindless "entertainment" meant to capitalize on the success of the first film. Rather than fulfill one's need for an Asian horror fix, One Missed Call 2 only reminds viewers of the films that started this trend in the first place - and it makes them wish they'd watched one of those flicks instead. (Sanjuro 2005)

ONE MISSED CALL 1


Being a huge fan of Takashi Miike's work since he seems to just not give a f-ck and makes whatever he likes (only Miike would have women really lactate their breasts on camera while their husband nails a dead woman and gets stuck and craps on him). I was really amped to see his film "One Missed Call" basically "The Ring" done through Miike's eyes. Unlike most of Miike's other work this is his most restrained and more serious film where he keeps it pretty much mainstream but succeeds highly. College student Nakamura Yumi (Shibasaki Ko) is out with a bunch of friends. Her buddy Yoko gets a call on her cell phone with a weird ring-tone she's never heard before. “One missed call“, is written on the display. When they check out her voice mail, it mysteriously has come from her own cell phone, containing a hideous scream that sounds just like Yoko. If that's not enough, it's dated three days into the future. Sure enough, three days later, at that exact time, with that exact scream, Yoko plunges to her death from a railway bridge. A few days later, another person at the party, Kenji, receives a call from his own number, also from the future. This message too contains scream that sounds oddly like himself. He too dies at the appointed hour uttering the same scream (man oh man does he get it). The calls don' stop. This time it's Yumi's best friend Konishi Natsumi (Fukiishi Kazue). She gets a call with the same creepy ring-tone. The message contains a video of someone's hand snaking up behind her own terror-stricken self. Taking this to mean she's doomed, Natsumi goes to pieces. Ignoring Yumi's pleas, she agrees to go on a live TV broadcast of an attempted exorcism at the appointed hour. Yumi, desperate to get to the bottom of things, teams up with a solitary funeral director, Yamashita Hiroshi (Tsutsumi Shinichi), who lost his sister in a similar set of circumstances. The two of them begin to follow the trail of death. Meanwhile Natsumi's moment of truth approaches. Live on national TV at exactly the predicted moment, she dies a horrible, horrible death. As Yumi and Yamashita gaze at her twisted corpse, Yumi's phone begins to ring….. I know what you may be thinking "wait a minute this just sounds like some cheesy "RINGU" rip off!" Well let me tell you it may feel a be familiar but Takashi Miike really brings his own style of camera angles into the movie. Along with the use of various lens filters and the use of a very good sound design, he manages to create an atmosphere of horror you rarely get to see on the big screen. Very often these effects scare you, without really seeing horrible scenes. There are some gory effects also, but he used them very accurate and not in a way splatter movie do. Another thing there aren't that annoying false B.S scares. There's no dicking around like in so many of HOLLYWOOD'S kiddie friendly horror flicks that use shameful tricks to scare you. "Boo its just me your best buddy slamming my hand on your shoulder in the pitch dark as I know your nerves are on end like any normal person would do or BOOM, CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!! (with the theater speakers cranked to 20 as a grandma's dildo falls to the ground! DAMN DILDO SCARING ME!!!!) No when sh** is gonna happen IT HAPPENS!!! When talking about effects, all of the make-up effects are well done (Love the Ghost at end with the sliding flesh AWESOME!!!), and along with the described sounds and cinematography the movie gets its own look. Wait until you see the TV STATION scene CLASSIC!!!! The only problem I have is the very end. All I can say be prepared to sit back with a real stupid look on your face saying "WTF???????!!!!!!" as this happy cheesy music blares on and credits roll!" what the hell was Miike THINKING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TOMIE

Tomie will not die!Meet Tsukiko, she’s a young Japanese girl who’s supposedly been in an accident and can’t remember anything about it, or any of the events leading up to it. The only memory she has are some disturbing flashes in her subconscious every now and then.Tsukiko is seeing a hypnotherapist to see if she can get any of her regressed memories back. About this time, a detective shows up at the hypnotherapist and tells the story of a student named Tomie (pronounced Toe-mee-eh) that transferred into Tsukiko’s class at school. As soon as Tomie got to the school, there was a rash of suicides. These suicides sparked one of the students to chop Tomie up and dispose of the pieces, but none were ever found. The detective has also discovered that there are many murder cases of this Tomie Kawakami, some that date back to the late 1800’s.

A 6 year old girl is being rushed down a hospital hallway on a gurney; her stomach is distended to the point that she looks pregnant. Doctors do an ultrasound on her abdomen to try and see the cause.Lemme tell you, if I was a doctor and saw that ultrasound monitor, it would have been Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Dr. Flames’ trousers! Cleanup in ER 1! Needless to say, it’s pretty obvious what’s going on, but I found it creepy nonetheless.Not long after this happens do the hospital’s patients and staff start clearing out, the claim is that they all went mad. Tomie Replay, doesn’t pick up right where Tomie left off, the only similarity between the two movies is Tomie, which very well may be its downfall. Tomie re-appears, finds some poor horny dude she can “possess” for lack of a better word, to do her bidding, all the while driving her poor suitors completely mad in the process


AUDITION

Even with the expected kick to the face, Miike delivers a wonderous example of creative storytelling. As a fan of the From Dusk til Dawn concept and due to the horrendous marketing for it, I find it strangely similar to Audition in the genre sucker-punch sense. Even currently, it is so rare in film and underappreciated for the way it just completely alters its direction to have its fun with the audience. If you’ve read about Audition, most likely something has given it away, but for the lucky few that have no idea what it’s about, it’s probably best to stop reading here and just go rent it. Shigeharu Aoyama has been living a dismal life since his wife died a few years ago. His friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa offers him a clever ploy to get a new relationship going. Staging a fake audition for a supposed acting role, the two interview each candidate until Aoyama takes special notice in Asami Yamazaki, whom he calls and they hit it off. It’s understandable a relevant plot revelation will intrigue a larger crowd, but it makes it no fun when a simple image can just ruin a twist. Things would be much better if it went back to Hitchcock Psycho style theatre restrictions. Regardless of telltale signs of an audience sucker-punch, apparently there were people surprised by the film to go as far as walking out in disgust halfway through the film and probably throwing up in the aisle ways. There’s how rumors get started. Not everyone will appreciate it no doubt, but the innovativeness should satisfy the eager always in search of something fresh. As a first Takashi Miike film, it sure set high standards for his other work, but made me an instant fan. The plot is so ingenious it warrants me from delving in too deep. It proves how diverse Miike can be, painting an earnest romance and infusing it with originality. Even with the use of generally cliché and arty storytelling techniques, we’re able to ignore them and appreciate the story he is trying to tell and the method he takes to tell it. In one part, under the guise of wasting your time with a dream sequence, Miike just plays with the audience to a point of utter confusion. Albeit, the story is resolved clearly, unlike Suicide Circle or some Japanese horror flicks, but it’s the pure insanity that makes the end so amusing. Ryo Ishibashi’s a familiar face in Japanese cinema and gets a simple yet well-fleshed out role. I loved Eihi Shiina who is able to pull off these two roles perfectly. Better roles for her should come, especially with the hauntingly kinky use of two syllables trapped in all of our minds. Jun Kunimura was good in the supporting role he had. People here may recognize him as Boss Tanaka from Kill Bill but he’s able to pull off this sly, troublesome friend role displaying versatility from that tougher role. The substance of the film is a welcomed change from Miike. Breaking away from his standard yakuza cinema, his success is apparent in deeper films expressing morals and themes much more clearly than attempted in Ichi the Killer. Get a loved one and snuggle up for a little of Miike’s magic. You’ll learn some life lessons from the events in Audition even if they are a bit eccentric.

PREMONITION

This is the second in the 'J-Horror Theater' series of movies - a projected six stories with different horror directors, linked only by the same production team (most importantly producer, Taka Ichise, trading on his success with the Ring and Ju-on/The Grudge franchises). Premonition was released in Japan (titled Yogen) at the same time as Infection (Kansen) which is also availableon DVD. A third film, Reincarnation (or Rinne), directed by Takashi Shimizu of The Grudge series, was later released in Japanese cinemas in 2005. Premonition begins with a glimpse of a newspaper article about the same real-life psychic who inspired Ring, and was referred to in the book and the movie.The strong premise is that a newspaper is delivered with headlines describing deaths that haven’t happened yet, and what happens when the reader tries to avert these fatalities. I can't describe much of the plot without spoiling it from the start. I can just say that the opening scene is incredibly tragic and that the eerie mood doesn't take long to get established.Based on a thirty year old manga story called Kyofu Shinbun (literally 'Newspaper of Terror'), the script expands and incorporates the original tale very cleverly.
I was expecting more from this film, seeing as it was directed by Norio Tsuruta, whose eerie Kakashi (Scarecrows) and Ring 0: Birthday had already impressed me.In the thorough extras on the DVD is a very honest interview with the director, who admits that his horror films have been more subtle in the past, but now, jealous of the success of Takashi Shimizu, he’s been tempted to ‘show more’ horror. Looks like he studied Ju-on: The Grudge 2 very closely, because there’s a similarly tour-de-force sequence of alternate realities towards the climax, where the viewer is disorientated by constantly changing timelines. He even cast the star of Ju-on: The Grudge 2, 'horror queen' Noriko Sakai, as the leading lady.Almost instantly, I was gripped by the film, which has a heavy air of supernatural suspense right from the start. This mood was sustained for much of the film, no mean feat, but the actual 'horror payoffs', that the director has previously avoided, didn’t work for me. Ghostly apparitions are shown in too strong a light and as too physical. They failed to shock or scare me, making the leading actor’s reactions appear even more over the top.As the central character, Hiroshi Mikami has to appear distraught, scared or shocked for much of the movie, and his performance wasn't reined back as far as it could have been. To many viewers I’d guess his acting would be seen as way ‘too much’ and more likely to amuse than frighten. This isn't a film to turn on your friends to Japanese horror.Similarly, there's another awkward moment that may also unintentionally get a laugh. In a scene at a funeral service which shows a mourner about to look into the casket. The mother of the deceased opens up the casket and allows her to look inside before warning her that the dearly departed has had its face ripped off!Full marks for mood (and cutest little girl ever), but points deducted for actual horror. Again, I really enjoyed the disorientating climax, almost a nod to the climax of Dead of Night (1945) where the protagonist stumbled through every previous scene in the film. The film's finale and resolution compensate for its deficiencies. But I had been expecting a more even entry from this promising series.The films were released on DVD without any sort of fanfare, considering the talent involved, or much clue that they're linked. But I'll admit that the vague and lacklustre front cover put me off watching this until now.


THE CURSE

Lisa Reisert, a hotel manager who attends to some very high profile customers, is catching a red eye flight back home after attending her grandmother's funeral. Unfortunately, there is a flight delay (What!? This never happens in the real world) and she's forced to spend a little extra time at the airport. While there, she meets a handsome and charming man by the name of Jackson Rippner. Lo and behold, the same handsome and charming man just happens to have the seat next to hers on the flight. Coincidence? Of course not. You saw the commercials!Once in the air, Jackson Rippner reveals his true intentions. There's an assassination plot afoot involving an important official staying at Lisa's hotel. Old Jack and his cohorts need Lisa's help to execute their plan (and the official). If she does as she's told, she'll live. If not, she will be Jack's next victim, and her beloved father will meet an untimely demise as well.In an age where the name Wes Craven has become more of a warning label than anything else, you can imagine my suprise when this movie didn't completely suck. But be warned, Red Eye is not a horror movie. It's more like an action/thriller that just happens to have a horror director at the helm.While the details plot are somewhat lacking (once they are revealed), the performances of the two main characters more than made up for it. Especially Cillian Murphy. This guy is starting to become one of my favorite actors. His simultaneously charming and chilling demeanor in this movie makes me think he could have been an understudy for the role of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Rachel McAdams's character could have easily turned into an over the top heroine, but she manages to keep things down to earth and believable.There is a genuine aura of tension and uneasiness in the first half of the film, and I applaud both McAdams and Murphy for creating that. It is only compounded by the claustrophobic setting of an airplane. But then the second half of the movie just turns into a straight-up action flick, so unfortunately that previously created aura dissipates. What really bothered me was the last 15 minutes, which reminded me way too much of the last 15 minutes of Scream. There were also some subplots and dialogue thrown in to incorporate humor that I really could have done without, especially towards the end. This film isn't great, but it is much better than the other crap Wes Craven has been putting out during the last half of his career. I give it 2.9 out of 5 guys who killed their parents because they didn't like the name they were given.(2005) Wes Craven, Carl Ellsworth Rachel McAdams .... Lisa Reisert Cillian Murphy .... Jackson Rippner Brian Cox .... Joe Reisert Jayma Mays .... Cynthia Angela Paton .... Nice Lady Laura Johnson .... Blonde Woman Suzie Plakson .... Senior Flight Attendant Max Kasch .... Headphone Kid Jack Scalia .... William Keefe Theresa Press-Marx .... Marianne Taylor Robert Pine .... Bob Taylor

KAIRO


Synopsis"Would you like to meet a ghost?"
Kaïro is based around two parallel stories: the strange events taking place among the employees of a Tokyo plant sales company, and similar happenings in the life of a young economics student, Kawashima Ryosuke (played by Haruhiko Katô).
The film opens with a young woman, Kudo Michi (Kumiko Aso, who also starred in Ring 0), who is trying to track down one of the employees at the small plant sales company she also works in, Taguchi (Kenji Mizuhashi), who has gone missing for a few days. Their boss is waiting for Taguchi to provide him with a work file for the company's computer. Michi goes to Taguchi's apartment and finds him there, seemingly normal. She picks up the work file from his computer desk; however, when she goes into the next room to thank him for the disk, she finds him dead against the wall, having hanged himself while she was looking for the work disk.
The other employees of the company, Sasano Junko (Kurume Arisaka) and Toshio Yabe (Masatoshi Matsuo), are obviously also very shaken up by this unexpected suicide, and suspect that something strange is happening. When Yabe runs the so-called work disk in the company's computer, the disk connects him to a weird website, which shows a picture of Taguchi's computer desk, with the figure of Taguchi next to the desk, hiding in the shadows. Even more strangely, on Taguchi's computer is a picture of the whole scene, receding into infinity. The two women are frightened by this, and so Yabe decides to investigate.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, Kawashima is trying to connect to the Internet for the first time. A self-avowed computer-hater and novice, he installs the dial-up software with difficulty. However, he is baffled when the computer gives him all kinds of error messages, and then proceeds to dial him up and connect him to the same odd website. This time, though, the site shows him a different room, with more shadowy, indistinct figures making repetitive motions in it. A message appears on the screen: "Would you like to meet a ghost?" He is scared and confused by this turn of events, and turns off the computer in a hurry.
However, in the middle of the night, while he is asleep, the computer turns itself back on and dials up the Net, going straight to the odd website all by itself. The modem sound wakes him up, and he panics and throws the computer off the desk.
The next day, Kawashima decides to go the next day to the Computer Science faculty of his university to ask about the strange website. There, he meets a young IT student, Karasawa Harue (played by Koyuki), who gives him instructions to help him track down the source of the website, fearing it could be a hacker using his PC to dial up the site. As they work together to try and find out about the weird site, Harue and Kawashima are drawn to each other.

Unknown to Kawashima, Harue and the plant sales employees, people all over Tokyo are finding the ghost-site, and becoming addicted to it for unknown reasons.
In the meantime, Yabe goes to Taguchi's apartment to try and find out what has happened to him, and what the mysterious floppy disk is all about. While he's there, he is drawn into the room where Taguchi committed suicide, and thinks he sees him there, standing in the shadows. But on closer investigation, Yabe finds that the figure is in reality a black, ashen silhouette, left on the wall where Taguchi hanged himself, in the exact same shape as Taguchi when he died.
At the bottom of Taguchi's apartment block, Yabe sees a mysterious room, the door taped up with red construction tape. He investigates the room, and what happens inside destroys him…
On her way home from work, at the same time as Yabe is in Taguchi's apartment block, Michi passes by the house of a middle-aged woman who lives opposite an abandoned factory, and watches her hurriedly taping up her front door with a roll of red construction tape. The next day, when she is returning home again from her job, the same woman jumps from the top of the factory building and kills herself in front of her…


BUNSHINSABA

Reseña crítica: En idéntica línea de GAWI (2000), aquí nuevamente el realizador Ahn Byeong-Ki nos plantea una historia aparentemente original, pero que transita realmente caminos conocidos para el aficionado al cine oriental: la colegiala que realiza juegos de espíritus (aquí con el fin de defenderse de la presión de sus compañeras, que la consideran un freak); la niña que es odiada por todo el pueblo y es forzada a la autodestrucción; el fantasma vengativo que comienza a hacer víctimas a todo el reparto; el espectro que sale desde una bolsa de desperdicio (en el cine coreano hemos visto espectros salir de un aparato de televisión, de charcos de agua, de espejos...). La historia se inicia con un trío de colegialas que, a través de ingenuo ritual cercano a la ouija, convocan al espíritu de una ex alumna fallecida 30 años atrás en circunstancias poco claras. A partir de ese momento, la protagonista (Lee Se-Eun) es poseída por el espíritu de la olvidada Kim In-Suk (Lee Yu-Ri). Al mismo tiempo los cadáveres de las compañeras que maltraban a estas jóvenes, comienzan a ser encontrados con bolsas de nylon en la cabeza y la cara quemada, luego de suicidarse encendiéndose. El rutinario misterio tendrá algunas vueltas de tuerca interesantes, un tratamiento visual soberbio y algunas escenas de gran crueldad, que elevan un poco el producto final.
Títulos alternativos:- OUIJA BOARD Prod.: A-Post PicturesPaís: Corea del SurDuración: 92'Estreno: 30 de Julio de 2004


A TALE OF TWO SISTERS


The Film Based loosely on an old Korean folk tale that has been filmed no less than five times previously, Kim Jee-woon's A Tale of Two Sisters twists the source material more or less beyond recognition, keeping the father, stepmother and two daughters from the original but abandoning much of the rest. Rather than a literal adaptation, Kim's version is a successful attempt to update the story to a contemporary setting retaining the scary, sad and touching elements of the original.
The film begins with sisters Su-mi (Im Soo-jung) and Su-yeon (Moon Geun-young) returning to their family home after an unspecified illness. There is an unusually close bond between the siblings, and Su-mi is highly protective of her younger sister Su-yeon. It is soon revealed that this is due in part to the apparent abuse that Su-yeon suffers at the hands of their classically wicked stepmother (Yeom Jeong-ah). However, a revelation that comes further into the film makes it clear that not all is as it first appeared, and much of what had been presented as reality was in fact a single individual's distorted viewpoint. Further revelations twist the tale even further, turning the film into a narrative jigsaw puzzle that is ultimately left for the viewer to solve.
Rather than being an obstacle to enjoyment, the uncertainty about what is actually happening and what is real or imagined adds to the sense of unease, with tension mounted higher by some highly effective shock moments. Contributing to the atmosphere of the film is the distinctive production design. The house that provides the setting for most of the film is decorated with dense, William Morris style floral patterns and textures. Instead of warm and welcoming, the designs seem somehow dark and oppressive, as if malignant forces are hiding somewhere in the intricate patterns.
Given the ambiguity of the roles in the film, the cast perform admirably. Im Soo-jung, despite her age, seems more than capable of carrying the film on her young shoulders and conveys the necessary fear, anger and confusion at appropriate moments without ever resorting to theatricality. Moon Geun-young as the younger sister is appropriately sweet and frail, in stark contrast to Yeom Jeong-ah's suitably two-faced and malicious stepmother. Kim Gap-soo as the father has less to do, but nevertheless appears duly haunted and out of his depth. Previously known for his debut black comedy The Quiet Family and the successful wrestling comedy The Foul King, confessed horror buff Kim Jee-woon decided to give up the laughs completely when he contributed the segment Memories to the pan-Asian horror anthology Three. In retrospect, Memories now appears to be a practice run for ideas explored further in A Tale of Two Sisters.

SORUM


Sinopsis
Yong-Hyun, un taxista que roza la terintena, se traslada a su nuevo hogar: la habitación 504 de los apartamentos Migum en las afueras de Seúl. Poco después de la mudanza, comienza a intuir una extraña presencia y recibe la escalofriante noticia de que el anterior inquilino murió en un incendio en esa misma habitación. Por si fuera poco, el fantasmagórico edificio se encuentra a un paso de ser declarado en ruinas y sólo cuatro personas permanecen en él: Mr.Lee, un escritor fracasado, Eun-Soo, novia del fallecido, y Sun Yeong, una camarera maltratada por su marido con la que el recién llegado inicia una relación sentimental. Yong-Hyon descubrirá poco a poco que el edificio encierra un terrible secreto que atrapa y condena a todos aquellos que lo habitan.

NacionalidadCorea del Sur
Año2001
GéneroDrama · Suspense
FormatoColor
Duración100
DirectorJong-chan Yun
GuiónJong-chan Yun
FotografíaSeo-shik Hwang
DistribuidoraOrient Express
RepartoJin-Young Jang, Myeong-min Kim, Ju-bong Gi, An Jo, Young-hoon Park

THE MAID

Synopsis :
During the Chinese Seventh Month, the gates of hell open and spirits are let loose upon an unsuspecting world. For 30 days, the dead walk among the living. To protect themselves, mortals devise rules. Rules such as: Do not swim during the Seventh Month; do not turn back at night when someone calls out your name; do not talk to strangers on a deserted stretch of road.For Rosa Dimaano, all those are just a bunch of old wives’ tales.
Hailing from a small village in the Philippines, the 18-year-old arrives in Singapore on the first day of the Seventh Month to work as a domestic maid. She urgently needs money to save her ill brother back home in the Philippines and ghosts are the last things on her mind. Happily for Rosa, life in Singapore cannot be rosier. Her employers – the elderly and gentle Mr and Mrs Teo – are a godsend, caring for her as if she is their own daughter. Their mentally-handicapped son Ah Soon also takes to Rosa immediately.
Between cleaning house and helping the Teos out at their Chinese opera workplace, Rosa experiences the exotic sights and sounds of Singapore to her delight. Then, things start going amiss. Glimpsing strange apparitions at night, Rosa soon finds herself tumbling into the world of the dead. Unknown to the innocent girl, she had unwittingly broken many rules on the first few days of the Seventh Month.
As the festivities reach a fever pitch in Singapore, Rosa’s life turns into a nightmare. A mutilated boy haunts her. A faceless woman appears in the Teos’ house. Rosa feels as if she is losing her mind. Her employers urge her to bear with the sightings. But Rosa is uncertain. Someone somewhere seems to be trying to reach out to her. To keep her job, the poor girl has to stifle her screams and fear. To save her brother, she must survive the terrors of the Chinese Seventh Month.

Genre: Horror/ThrillerDirector: Kelvin TongStarring: Alessandra De Rossi, Chen Shucheng, Hong Huifang, Benny Soh, Guan Zhen Wei RunTime: -Released By: Golden Village & Mediacorp Raintree PicturesRating: TBA
Release Date: 18 August 2005

SHUTTER

Story: A young couple –Tun, a photographer, and his girlfriend Jane- are driving home from a party late at night. They have a hit-and-run accident: after they mow down a young woman, Tun urges Jane to drive away from the scene. Soon, however, strange light patterns and faces start appearing on his photos, scary dreams haunt him, ghostly presences are felt around him and Jane, and they start investigating the ‘ghost photos’ phenomena and history of the girl who seems to be behind the haunting. Of course they are not chosen randomly: it turns out that the ghost is attached in a very peculiar way to one of them…
Review: Just as you might suspect from the above synopsis, SHUTTER is yet another addition to the still-growing body of RINGU-induced works dealing with (or should I say: exploiting?) the motif of a long-black-haired female ghost prone on one kind of vengeance or another – usually by popping out of various technological devices such as TVs, video tapes, cell phones or, as in this case – cameras and photographs. OK, it was scary the first time around. But after a dozen films with black hairs emerging from the water surface or female ghosts crawling closer and closer towards a petrified protagonist, do you still shiver - or do you yawn?SHUTTER is not exactly yawn-inducing thanks to a solid pace and occasionally energetic direction. There are inspired shots, like a single take of a man’s suicide over a high-rise’s balcony (simply but effectively staged, and explained in the additional features on the disc), or a stroboscopic scene in which Tun uses the camera’s flash to find his way in a suddenly darkened room. The hit-and-run is also well edited, and has a nice… uh, impact. The film’s culmination involves a solid suspense on the fire escape ladders chase, and the very end has a nice touch of macabre romance which reminded me, in a way, of the end of HAUTE TENSION (a far superior film to SHUTTER by any standard, and strongly recommended!).The film’s main gimmick ar the ‘ghost photos’, a phenomenon that you can read about in any publication devoted to the supernatural. The directors use the allegedly real photos (credited at the end of the film) which show the blurry faces gawking behind their living relatives. The concept is at the same time silly and potentially spooky: the problem is, spooky photos have already been done to death in the past 30 years, ever since THE OMEN; and the original RINGU has reminded us of that as well. Imperfections of the eye and the secrets hidden in the grainy images were suitable bases for films ranging from Antonioni’s artsy BLOW OUT to some great movies by Dario (DEEP RED) Argento and Brian (DRESSED TO KILL) de Palma. The two directors of SHUTTER are not visionaries like those authors, but merely competent purveyors of the tried-and-true tricks: their use of photography is far from revolutionary in either formal (visual) or thematic sense, but it serves the purpose of a decent, unambitious, moderately effective piece of entertainment. The amount of scare achieved by the film depends strictly on the viewer’s cinematic experience and exposure to similar Asian (and other) flicks from recent years. The ghost photos would seem much scarier if you haven’t seen them in RINGU; the same film has also staged the ultimate ghost-crawl-toward-you, but the one in SHUTTER is passable as well (though not as good as the one in A TALE OF TWO SISTERS); the black haired head emerging from the water would be more effective if you haven’t seen RINGU or DARK WATER; the upside-down ceiling-walking ghost will be even scarier without THE GRUDGE and ONE MISSED CALL, while the ghost hovering next to a running car may be familiar to those who saw JU-ON 2; and of course, the whole ‘they are around us’ gimmick (from the film’s tagline) has already been exploited by THE EYE…Other than the whole photo angle, SHUTTER is curious for having a protagonist who turns out to be one of the most despicable main characters in any recent film I can remember other than BAD SANTA (although even the latter attains a redemption at the end!). The amount of his sleazy, whiny cowardice and irresponsibility has to be seen to be believed! But don’t worry: he gets his just desserts! Some reviewers have stressed a big twist at the end; I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll reassure that it’s not of the tired ‘they’ve-been-dead-all-along’ varitey. Besides, it’s not such a big twist after all. The overhyped reviews elsewhere on the net may make you expect something more than a tolerable, watchable nothing-special Asian ghost flick with slick visuals that SHUTTER is, so – be warned. Don’t believe the hype until it’s the KFCC hype!

Country :Thailand
Year:2004
Genre:Horror
Format:DVD
Running Time:1H33
Distributor:Panasia
Date reviewed:05/28/05


Producer:Yoophet Suosawao
Directors:Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom
Cast: Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, Achita Sikamana, Unnop Chanpaibool