Tag Archives: WTF Japan

Battle Royale (2000)

Battle_royale_pochette

Genre: Drama, Action/Adventure

Cast: Takeshi Kitano, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda

Synopsis: A class of teenagers are abducted and forced to take part in a military exercise where they must kill each other on a deserted island until only one is left…..so kind of like the hipster Hunger Games.

I remember when I was in high school, this was the cult film that everyone had to watch. I had managed to get my hands on a copy of the film and it ultimately got passed around the class like a soggy biscuit at Eton. At the time this film was released, it was shocking, harrowing, polarising, but unquestionably brilliant. After re-watching the film, I’ve come to the conclusion that it still is. It’s not brilliant solely because of its action, or its beauty, or its twisted sense humour. Battle Royale is brilliant because it manages to combine all these and turn a story about basic characters senselessly killing one another into a moving coming of age tale.

I think that the thing that gives Battle Royale its power is its characters. In total, there are about 43 that appear throughout the course of the movie. Creating a movie with that number of characters is a daunting task but the makers Battle Royale rose to the challenge admirably. Of course, many of the characters are killed off quickly but even characters that appear for one extended scene only are given their own unique personalities and quirks and histories. This is best seen with the character of Chigusa. In one scene the film establishes that she is an athlete, proud, fearless, and that she will kick the ass (and knife the balls) of anyone who attempts to rape her. The audience barely knows her and yet we end up respecting and liking her immensely, which makes her exit from the film all the more tragic and beautiful.

ChigusaRIP you super fierce bi-atch

Of course there are other characters that are wonderful. Takeshi Kitano’s character adds depth and a much needed adult perspective. I have the biggest crush on Hiroki and, when commenting on the characters, it’s hard not to give attention to Mitsuko Souma, the school hussy. In short, the film presents a myriad of complex characters and it makes you feel for them even though not a lot time is dedicated to them. One character in particular only gets a couple of minutes of screen time but she is easily one of the best in the whole film.

BR Lady“You’ve been selected to kill each other. CONGRATULATIONS!”

One of the other brilliant things about this film is that it encourages its audience to engage their imagination and ponder about what they would do if they were forced to enter into a fight to the death. What would you do? Would you hide or would you play the game? What sort of weapon would you want to get? A gun or something like a tracking device that allows you to avoid the competition? Very few films manage to draw in their audiences in such a way right off the bat but Battle Royale manages to do it without even trying. Maybe it’s because the general premise of the film is so fucked up or maybe the film appeals to some innate competitive survival instinct in every human. Whatever the reason, this is one film you will not stop watching halfway through. You will force yourself to watch it all the way to the end.

In recent years some people have debated whether The Hunger Games is a rip off of Battle Royale. For the record, I am going to say that I don’t think The Hunger Games is a rip off. Although I think the two share similarities, I think it would be fair to say that The Hunger Games has its own distinct features and themes. While Battle Royale is about growing up and leaving behind childhood friends, The Hunger Games is (I think) more of commentary on wealth inequality and reality television and it is enjoyable in its own way. Don’t get me wrong though, I think Battle Royale is 1000 times better and you would be a fool for thinking otherwise.

High-lights:

  • Wonderful characters that are developed in a very small amount of time.
  • Surprisingly good amount of humour.
  • Great soundtrack.
  • The lighthouse shoot out is one of the weirdest and most spectacularly perverse scenes in the history of film.
  • RUN!

Downers:

  • Kazuo Kiriyama is the only underdeveloped character and it’s a shame because in the novel his background is fascinating.

Summary:

I have no doubt that Battle Royale will continue to be a cult favourite for decades to come. It has all the ingredients needed to ensure its survival as a classic. If you haven’t seen it yet then hop to it. It’s on Netflix so there is no excuse.

10/10

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Drama, Mind Blowingly Awesome

Akira (1988)

AKIRA_(1988_poster)

Genre: Sci-Fi, Animation, Action/Adventure

Cast: TETSSSSUUUUOOOOOO!!!, KANEDAAAAA!!!!

Synopsis: A teenager who is also a member of a biker gang in dystopian Neo-Tokyo acquires psychic powers after a run in with an anaemic child. With his new powers, he sets out to release the mysterious entity known as Akira.

I’m back! That’s right loyal readers. I have returned to you after a five week sojourn to the USA. It must have been very difficult for you to process my absence. Lord knows it kept me awake at night. I am sure you have asked yourself, fist shaking at the sky: “Why did Baked leave us?” The simple truth is I decided not to update my blog while I was in the US for one key reason: I didn’t have access to weed. I didn’t want to compromise the integrity of my method…if ‘integrity’ is the right word. I would hate myself if I didn’t stay true to the basic tenets of this blog; namely get high and watch movies. Fortunately, I am back in London where the weed is plentiful and the police don’t give a rat’s ass. For my first review back, I’ll be reviewing the anime sci-fi mind-fuck classic: Akira.

If you thought Paprika and Perfect Blue were bat-shit insane, then you were right. However, as Japanese game shows have demonstrated, there is no limit to the sanity black hole that is Japan. Akira is a film that reflects that generality. The film is set in a dystopian Tokyo in 2019, 31 years after a nuclear explosion destroyed the city. The city is overrun with juvenile delinquents on bikes and nut jobs. Throw in psychic sickly children who look like they’re 80 and things get weird very quickly. I’m talking giant killer teddy bears and an oversized throbbing tumour monster. For the last one, imagine an inappropriate Power Ranger villain but with added sexual symbolism.

Zedd2Although I always thought Lord Zedd was inappropriate for that reason

Although the weirdness is certainly a hallmark of the film, the thing that makes Akira a brilliant film is that it speaks to sentiment that is 100 per cent Japanese. To date, Japan remains the only nation that has had a nuclear weapon used against it in war. In 1945, two Japanese cities were wiped off the map. Akira is a film that is very theme heavy with the central ones being: the fragility of civilisation and cities; the repercussions of using God-like powers for destruction; capitalism and urban wealth inequality; adolescence and coming-of-age; and spirituality and rebirth in the modern age. When watching this movie for the first time, these themes may escape you because it’s such a complex movie and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I watched Akira for the first time when I was 15 and only ‘got it’ when I was 22. However, it’s still worth the watch and the re-watch because the themes this movie tackles are still relevant for today’s world and will continue to be so for a long time. Also, let’s not forget that Japan is hosing the Olympic games in 2020 so I fully expect Akira to actually happen by that time.

The amazing thing about this movie is that it is over 25 years old and it still holds up by today’s standards. The animation is as fresh and remarkable as it was when it was first released. I don’t think anyone could ever dream of criticising how Neo-Tokyo was designed: it’s a sprawling metropolis with shining lights and gleaming towers as well as dark corners and decay. The level of detail is, quite frankly, astounding and no scene does the craftsmanship justice quite like this one.

While the visuals are just as amazing as they were in the 80s, the sound effects have maybe aged a bit. I mentioned something similar in my review of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. However, you can’t let these small blips ruin what is an otherwise brilliant film. My advice to you readers is that you should watch this film as soon as possible, as a US remake could be on the way. The remake has been in development hell for years but that could change soon so you’ll want to experience the original before Hollywood shits all over it by including heavy-handed 9/11 references and Milla Jovovich in a skin-tight cat suit.

High-lights:

  • The animation. Wow. That is all.
  • Complex but not without reason. The film is all about nuclear war, evolution, and spirituality in an age crippled with capitalism.
  • Probably the best representation of romance in an apocalyptic scenario. I always find it weird how people are always shagging each other at the end of the world in these sorts of films….surely the characters have other more important things on their mind…like not dying.
  • Watch it with a friend and assign roles so that one can shout ‘Tetsuo’ and the other one shout ‘Kaneda’ at appropriate moments.

Downers:

  • Poor Kaori. Poor, poor Kaori. She got clothes-lined by a guy on a motor bike. That’s got to hurt.
  • Slightly outdated sound effects.

Summary:

When you first watch this movie, you might not get it. In fact, you might hate it. However, I am begging you to come at Akira with an open mind and maybe a little context because if you do that you will see why it’s such an important moment in Japanese cinematic history. Sure it’s a weird film, but when that weirdness comes together with purpose it becomes art. That’s what this film is, pure and simple: it’s art.

10/10

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Filed under Action/Adventure, Animation, Mind Blowingly Awesome, Sci-Fi

The Garden of Words (2013)

The Garden of Words

Genre: Animated, Drama, Romance

Cast: Kana Hanazawa, Miyu Irino

Synopsis: A teenage boy meets a drunk lady in the park on a rainy morning and they strike up an inappropriate relationship.

One thing I love about Japanese films is that they continue to push the boundaries of what is really “appropriate subject matter” in film. As I am sure you all know, I have a fondness for movies which I can categorise as “WTF Japan” and, thanks to director Makoto Shinkai, I now have another movie I can add. The Garden of Words is the melancholy story of a (clearly sexually confused) teenager with a foot fetish who skips school on rainy morning to go sketch shoes at Shinjuku Gyoen park. One day, he runs into a lady sat in the ark knocking back beer and pigging out on chocolate.

Freeze. Now, at this point, alarm bells would start ringing in the head of most normal people. This kid, however, is not normal and he and the lady strike up a friendship. The woman seems mild mannered enough. She’s not some kind of washed-out Las Vegas drunkard. Still, you know this lady has some problems because who the fuck goes drinking in public park at 9am on a weekday? Bitch, go to work!!! Anyway, one thing leads to another and he starts touching her feet. Cringe.

Despite the creepy and inappropriate premise, The Garden of Words is actually a sweet little film. I was surprised to find that it ran for only ran for a total of 45 minutes. It felt more substantial. Perhaps it’s because the film has a story with depth and interesting characters which help to build tension. Neither character lays all their shit immediately out in the open. Instead, their relationship grows organically and as they learn more about each other so do we. In a way, the relationship feels like a very real one. The two joke, poke fun at each other, eat together, and eventually come to rely on each other. Their true feelings shown only in poetic soliloquies as they go about their ordinary lives: riding the train, going to school, working. It’s a reserved film for the most part which is something I like. The ending is a bit cheesy, if I’m being honest, but I can overlook that.

As with Shinkai’s earlier film, 5 Centimetres per Second, The Garden of Words is exquisitely animated. The level of detail in the scenery is phenomenal. Moreover, it captures life in Tokyo as it actually looks. It was great to see Tokyo in perfectly captured in animation and, one thing is for certain, it is a city that looks spectacular in the rain. In England, the rain feels gloomy. In Tokyo, it feels lush and rejuvenating and this is mirrored in the characters’ own development. If anything, this film really made me miss Tokyo and if anyone is ever interested in going, then I recommend that you watch this film to get an idea of what’s in store i.e. women day-drinking in parks with men with very specific fetishes.

High-lights:

  • Seriously Japan. WTF? The story is perverse.
  • Intricate animation that blows competitors out of the water.
  • Well-developed characters and great dialogue.
  • Pimp-slap!
  • Yummy Japanese food.

Downers:

  • Cheesy ending, although the scene after the credits is nice.
  • Let me touch your feet on a park bench in broad daylight!
  • So……is she a kiddy-fiddler?

Summary:

The Garden of Words is an intriguing anime that manages to entertain with its story, characters, and animation. The characters’ relationship would be considered grossly inappropriate by most western studios and audiences (think Notes on a Scandal but without Dame Judi getting her lesbian freak on), but again it shows wonderful insight into cultural differences between Japan and the West. I’d recommend that you give it a go and, if you don’t like it, it’s only 45 minutes long so you won’t feel like you’ve lost a giant chunk of time which you will never get back.

7.5/10

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Filed under Animation, Drama, Good, Romance

Air Doll (2009)

Airdoll-poster

Genre: Romance, Drama

Cast: Bae Doona

Synopsis: A blow-up love doll develops a soul and begins to see all the beauty and difficulty in life as she falls in love.

Excited by the fact that in three weeks time I will be jetting to Tokyo, I have decided that the next few films I review for this blog should be Japanese. Knowing of my love for beautifully poetic films, my brother suggested that I watch Air Doll and I happily agreed to do so. Once again, I found myself staring down the barrel of film which reflects the old adage “WTF Japan!?”

The whole concept behind blow-up love dolls is creepy enough but to actually see someone interact and make sweet and passionate love to one pushes the boundaries of creepiness. I can’t say that I have seen Lars and the Real Girl so I don’t know if that has a similar level of WTF-ness but I can guarantee that Air Doll trumps it on weirdness purely on the fact that, in this movie, there is a scene in which a Japanese man is washes out his lovely lady’s removable vaj in a small plastic wash basin. Remember to keep it fresh ladies. However, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sorry for the guy who owns the doll as well as some of the other characters. The movie’s main theme is “urban loneliness,” which is the feeling isolation despite living in a city full of people. It’s a feeling that I have felt at times and it was therefore easy for me to connect with the plights of the characters. Having said that, I don’t need to fuck a piece of inflatable plastic to combat loneliness….I have Grindr.

You would be wrong to assume that the movie is all just one big freak show though. One thing that the movie does very well is capture both the beauty and horror of modern life. Whether it’s the beauty of quiet contemplation while watching the sunset, or the pleasure of making a “happiness buy,” or the depressing hilarity of a “sadness binge-eat”, or even the crushing horror of a “shame wank,” Air Doll shows the very essence of life in all of its beautiful-ugly glory. Rather than portray life as one big lively party or as a depressing slog, Hirokazu Koreeda instead presents something which feels more honest and real, something I love in movies.

On a more technical analysis, the film has its strengths. The soundtrack is whimsical and Bae Doona does a great job at portraying Nozomi the air doll. I think it was a stroke of genius to have a Korean actress play the doll as it gives her performance more of an “alien” feel as her pronunciation of words is probably imperfect and her facial features are more doll-like. Having listed the strengths, it’s important to look at the film’s flaws. There aren’t many but a big concern is that the plot is very much on the thin side. Not a lot really happens in this movie and, running at more than two hours, watching it all can be a test of stamina. Also, then ending felt a little hurried and the dark twist came out of nowhere. Although I enjoyed the twist, I didn’t feel appropriately prepared for it so all this happiness I felt kind of came crashing to the ground without warning. Thanks for toying with my emotions Japan.

High-lights:

  • Honest portrayal of single life in an urban environment: depressing, yet strangely beautiful and poetic.
  • This scene.
  • Whimsical soundtrack and great performances.
  • This movie made me feel really excited about my upcoming trip to Japan.

Downers:

  • Slow-paced and long.
  • Thin plot.
  • A creepy Japanese man washing a removable vagina. Never thought I’d see that in my life.

Summary:

Air Doll is the sort of movie that will divide audiences. If you like slow-paced and eccentric dramas then you should definitely check it out. However, if you’re the sort of person who needs a film with a steady plot progression and lots of things going on to keep you entertained then this is not necessarily the movie for you. A lot of patience is required for Air Doll so make sure you smoke something that gives you couch lock. Still, even if you don’t par-toke, a lot of fun can be derived from making fun of Japanese eccentricities and especially when they are as bizarre as fucking plastic dolls. I hope I get to see some things that are even crazier when I’m in Japan.

7.5/10

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Filed under Drama, Good, Romance

Lost in Translation (2003)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Cast: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Faris

Synopsis: A former B-movie star suffering from a midlife crisis and a young, married college grad who feels empty and alone strike up a friendship whilst in Tokyo (the capital of fucked-uppery).

I’ve never been to Tokyo myself but I know quite a lot of people who have been and they all say that Lost in Translation presents an honest portrayal of the city. It’s a city that is completely foreign. Everything is different: the language, the layout of the city, the food, the culture. It’s a total mind fuck and Sofia Coppola does a brilliant job of latching onto that foreign identity and manipulating it in a way that is exhilarating, comical, and endearing. Lost in Translation is a brilliant film that explores themes of loneliness and intimacy whilst being set in the largest city in the world. It’s a perfect juxtaposition!

There has been some criticism leveled at the film for its portrayal of Japan. Critics have argued that the film presents new, urban, and built-up Japan negatively whereas old, traditional, ornate Japan is portrayed positively. I think that this is a superficial observation. It’s not as simple as ‘old is good’ and ‘new is bad.’ What the film is actually doing is celebrating intimacy. You have two characters that lack a level of intimacy in their personal lives and are finding it difficult to adjust to their new environment. They then meet and share their worries, problems, and friendship through an elaborate and crazy series of events. They share a bond and level of intimacy that is foreign to them both. The intimacy is not just seen in their relationship but also in their surroundings. The wedding scene and the flower arranging scene, in particular, display a wonderful closeness and connection. The streets of Tokyo are fun, loud, and adventurous but there’s more to the city, and life, than that. The film shows that even in the most hectic place on earth you can find something and someone special to share everything with. That’s a beautiful message.

It was a stroke of luck that the two main actors shared an enormous amount of chemistry on screen. Neither overshadows the other and they play to each other’s strengths. Bill Murray is terrifyingly convincing as a former actor dealing with a midlife crisis. He brings a touching melancholy to the role and his comedic timing and delivery of lines was perfect. Similarly, Johansson plays her part with an appropriate aloofness that cracks occasionally, showing a troubled woman trying to find out what she wants. I think it was a crime she wasn’t nominated for an academy award. I mean, she would have faced tough competition from Charlize Theron but a nomination was well deserved. She did win the BAFTA though (as did Murray) so clearly we Brits have better taste. Another great performance, which is often overlooked, was given by Anna Faris who plays an alarmingly shallow anorexic actress. She definitely provided the perfect foil to Johansson’s character.

This film really does exhibit Sofia Coppola’s talent as a director and screenwriter…not as an actress though. Anyone who has seen The Godfather Part III will understand. What I was surprised to find though was that the film works wonderfully as a stoner movie. The beauty, the humor, the emotion of it all just resonates with you if you’re stoned. The film has left an impression on me and I’d go as far as saying it’s the best film of the past decade. Others might disagree but it’s hard to ignore the wonder of this treasure.

High-lights:

  • The opening scene. Johansson’s fantastic ass (and I ain’t even that way inclined) and the wonderful urban sprawl of Tokyo. The audience is instantly lost, putting us in the position of the characters.
  • All the performances were brilliant. I don’t think there was a single bad actor/actress in the whole movie.
  • The hidden pot joke (hint: it’s the alarm clock which reads 4:20). I get what you’re saying Sofia *takes another hit of the bong*
  • The soundtrack which meshes perfectly with what we see on screen. The use of ‘Alone in Kyoto’ whilst Johansson was in Kyoto was inspired. That train journey was beautiful. I want to go there.
  • “HEY! LIP MY STOCKING…oh herp me mista Bob Hallis herp me prease!” Comedic genius. Probably my favorite comedy scene in a movie ever.
  • The ending. The ending was perfect. The hug and whisper and the look of both sadness and happiness in her eyes. Brilliant. It’s an ending that makes you feel all the feels.

Downers:

  • At times the dialogue fades into ‘spoiled teenager’ territory but I think it only happened once or twice and it’s easy to ignore.

Summary:

Perfection. I can’t really say any more than that. Watch it on your own when you need a pick me up and get lost in the sweeping emotional beauty of it all.

10/10

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Filed under Comedy, Drama, Mind Blowingly Awesome

Hausu (1977)

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Cast: Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Kumiko Oba

Synopsis: A bunch of girls with ludicrous names go to visit an estranged aunt in a beautiful country house. A bunch of crazy shit happens involving a piano, flying logs, and a cat.

What the actual fuck is this movie? If there was ever a movie that epitomizes the ‘WTF Japan’ theme then it’s this one. The film is so bizarre and unusual that it almost becomes a caricature of itself. However, I have never really experienced a film quite like this before so it was completely refreshing at the same time. I kind of feel like everyone who made this movie was on some kind of mysterious psychotropic drug and that explains why everything in this movie is just a beautiful and messy orgy of ridiculousness. I seriously thought I was hallucinating but after a few minutes I was quite pleased to discover that I had not gone insane from too much weed. No, I am not insane. However, after watching this movie, I am sure that everyone in Japan is.

At the time Hausu was made I guess the techniques that were used were state of the art but by today’s standards they’re just…odd. Odd and anachronistic. Watch in amazement as each scene ends with a psychedelic scene swipe which compliments a chilling techno soundtrack of a cat being beaten with an auto-tune machine. Everyone involved in the technical direction of this movie clearly had the impulse control of a drunken Lindsay Lohan….which makes is instantly brilliant. This movie will club you over the head with its weirdness but it still retains its Japaneseyness through the regular schoolgirl up-skirt shots and with the girls’ exposed breasts.

Speaking of the girls, they all have hilariously one-dimensional names that reflect their personal talents. The pretty one is Gorgeous, the musical one is Melody, and the martial artsy one is Kung Fu. The best character however is Gorgeous’ step mother who is constantly followed by soft lighting and a dramatic gust of wind which catapults her silk scarf into the air. It’s just overkill but the best possible kind. I didn’t feel much of a connection with the characters but I suppose in a movie like this you really don’t have to. In fact, it kind of made what was happening to them all the more funny.

If you can get over the hilarity of this film though you’ll discover that it actually functions quite well as a horror movie. The central plot is fairly creepy as it deals with isolation, aging, and cannibalism, a theme that isn’t often explored outside of the zombie sub-genre. Once you invest in the movie you begin to see what it’s actually trying to be which creates a multidimensional viewing experience. I had a lot of fun watching this movie and I think it will satisfy all kinds of horror fans. Just make sure you’re stoned when you watch this. It’s a whole different experience.

High-lights:

  • A girl getting eaten by a piano and another by a lamp. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • I want to smoke whatever Gorgeous’ step mother has been smoking and then listen to the cat music.
  • Any of the scenes involving Kung Fu fighting inanimate objects.
  • Really nice closing credits.
  • The movie was low-budget but had a lot of heart.

Downers:

  • At times it feels like the wet dream of a dirty Japanese business man with a very specific and terrifying fetish.

Summary:

Although not flawless this movie is a riot. Suitable for any occasion. I highly recommend that you watch this after smoking a strain that’s going to elevate your senses. If you do then you’re in for a treat! The technical brilliance/fuck uppery will blow your mind.

8.5/10

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Filed under Comedy, Great, Horror

Ringu (1998)

Genre: Horror

Cast: Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rikiya Ōtaka

Synopsis: After watching a strange video, Japanese teenagers get a creepy telephone call alerting them to that fact that they will die in 7 days. 7 days later they pop their clogs, meet their maker, kick the bucket etc. It’s now up to a plucky reporter to solve the mystery of the tape AND accept responsibility for her child and shrug off her image as a selfish working mother (I think).

Why did I watch this high? Seriously, why? Sometimes I get these thoughts and I think: ‘yes, that sounds like a good idea’ but then it completely blows up in my face. Watching Ringu was one of those situations. Against all better judgment I decided to watch this movie alone, at night, whilst my mum was at her book club (a.k.a. the drunken mother bitch fest). I actually managed to make it all the way through without much trouble but it was what happened afterwards that put the fear of God in me. More on that in a little bit. First, let’s crack on with the review.

The movie manages to oscillate between extremely campy and absolutely terrifying. When the movie wants to be scary it certainly knows how to be. I mean, is there anything scarier than a silent, pale Asian child? At other times though, the movie borders on hammy. Examples of this would be the flashback/vision scenes, the weird Japanesey girly girl lesbianism in the opening scene, and one random scene where the lead male character walks into the room and there is this awkward silence where everyone has this soap opera dramatic suspicion look. However, these scenes actually manage to heighten the horror aspects of the film because they lull you into a false sense of security. You’re not expecting it to go so creepy so fast and then it does all of a sudden you’re wishing that you weren’t alone in the house.

The premise of this movie is brilliant but I started wondering what would happen if it were real. If this fucked up tape did actually exist then I’m sure some bright spark would have uploaded it to youtube by now and then everyone would have seen it and then everyone would have died. Essentially, Ringu acts as a potential prequel for every post-apocalyptic scenario….MIND. BLOWN. Also, I started to suspect that this movie actually has a deeper message; a warning to single working mothers. The main character is quite a bad mother. She cooks amazing breakfasts for herself and eats fancy dinners whilst her freaky child is forced to microwave his own meals. It’s a struggle for her to accept responsibility for her child and a lot of the dialogue between her and her ex-husband is focused on her laziness towards her child (‘you have to pick him up tomorrow!’). It’s almost as if she brought this all on herself because she failed to be a better and more traditional mother. The movie acts as a cautionary tale that shouts: mothers, look after your children or they’ll turn into sinister psychic fruitcakes. That in itself is quite scary.

Coming full circle, I’ll now tell you what scared the shit out of me. It wasn’t anything in the movie. After watching the movie (about 30 seconds after in fact) the phone started to ring. Cue the terrifying realization/paranoia that it could be a scary Asian ghost child on the line. I stood there warily staring at the phone for a few seconds, questioning whether or not I should answer it. I finally worked up the courage to pick up the receiver…turns out it was my sister. My nerves were wrecked. I could punch her.

High-lights:

  • There are some genuinely terrifying and fucked up moments. The cuddling of an oozing skeleton being one of them.
  • The flashbacks are really funny. The evil girl waddles around like some sort of constipated penguin.
  • There are just enough Japanese WTF moments to keep it quirky and fresh without it wandering on over into insanity.

Downers:

  • Anyone grossed out by stuff happening to fingernails might want to give this a miss.
  • Extreme paranoia can set in with this movie quite easily.

Summary:

A must see for true horror fans and the brave of heart. Just one piece of advice: if you’re going to watch this high then make sure you’re with other people, with the lights on, and remember to unplug the fucking phone.

8.5/10

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Filed under Great, Horror