Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category


Yoko is a young and beautiful plastic surgeon who charges her patients whatever she feels like. She can get away with doing that as her patients will spend vast amount of money to make themselves beautiful and besides she hates being around “ugly people”. One night a disfigured young woman by the name of Yoshie turns up at her surgery practice begging for Yoko to make her beautiful. She doesn’t want the work to be done in the day but rather at night. Yoko at first refuses but when she sees the vast amount of wealth that Yoshi has at her disposal she agrees very quickly. At first it is only her face that Yoshie wants to be changed but gradually she wants more and more surgery done on her body including her private parts. It seems that Yoko has awakened a monster in Yoshie who demands constant surgery and when Yoko refuses she makes life hell for her.

J-horror fans who are bored with the tired formula of long haired antagonists will probably like this original movie which looks at how far some people will go in order to achieve being beautiful. Young women in particular feel under pressure these days to look good in particular when images of thin stick celebrities and models are constantly thrown at them on TV. In Japan it is the same with some music idols having to stick below a certain weight or they will be deemed as having broken their contact. This movie has a twisted psychological plot in which you might think that Yoko deserves all that she has coming to her due to her personality and greed for money. The first half of the movie builds up the plot in the sense that you have an inkling that you’re expecting something to happen. It’s more concerned with showing the viewer what an unpleasant and self centred character Yoko is before descending into disgusting body horror during the second half. Whilst there are some unpleasant imagery and blood on display, it’s still a rather tame effort from director Katsuya Matsumura who has helmed many entries in the very gory All Night Long series.


It’s obvious that this is a low-budget movie given that there is no outside location used and the majority of the story is based in Yoko’s surgery. If I’m being honest the movie only picks up during the 2nd half as Yoko refuses to do any more surgery on Yoshie until her scars have healed but this just won’t do for her. Yoshie disappears for a couple of months until Yoko is called out to a bogus restaurant date and when she comes back to her surgery she finds her lover is having sex with Yoshie (now a beautiful woman). Yoshie kills Yoko’s lover and laughs maniacally about it. Yoko had previously told Yoshie not to use the muscles in her face too much as the work she’s done could come apart and this is what happens as Yoshie’s nose splits with a small white horn of some sort breaking out through her skin. This is only the start of Yoshie’s personal revenge on Yoko as she replaces some water that Yoko’s receptionist uses to wash her face with acid! Even when Yoshie has achieved what she set out to do to Yoko, it becomes clear that she has gone completely insane.

I wouldn’t say the acting by the cast is amazing. I’m sure male viewers will enjoy seeing Yukiko Okamoto who plays Yoko naked in her sex scenes (of which there are a few). Asuka Kurosawa’s face as Yoshie is mostly hidden under some prosthetics to make her features look disfigured. The script could have been written better as it never explains how Yoshie has unlimited amounts of wealth for her surgery. There is basically no character development whatsoever.

All in all, this is a watchable movie. Good to watch once but no more. It had a chance to provide something different to J-horror fans but thanks to the lazy script it fails on every count. A missed opportunity.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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Parasyte Part 1 (2014)


One night, parasitic alien organisms come to Earth and begin taking over human beings by entering their bodies through the ears and then controlling their brains. Teenager Shinichi Izumi lives at home with his single mother. One of the parasites make their way to Shinichi’s home but find their usual entrance to the human body blocked as Shinichi has fallen asleep listening to music with earphones. On Shinichi waking up unexpectedly, the alien burrows it’s way inside his right hand instead. He prevents the alien from reaching his brain by applying a tourniquet to his arm. The next day at his room desk a pair of eyes starts appearing on Shinichi’s hand. He tries to extract it but it only angers the alien which totally emerges from the hand to give Shinichi the fright of his life. The alien which is given the name ‘Righty’ by Shinichi appears to the teenager as a small entity embedded in his hand with a single and a mouth that talks. Unlike his fellow aliens which have begun devouring humans for food, ‘Righty’ is content in having a peaceful relationship with his host. Shinichi is content not to interfere with the other aliens until his own mother is taken over and then things become personal for him. The alien threat has even infiltrated his high school with his science teacher now an alien host. But what can one individual do against a hoard of ferocious alien hosts?

This is the big screen adaptation of the manga ‘Kiseiju’. There has literally been dozens of alien invasion movies done over the years but this one even though the plot may sound unoriginal is still unique in its own little way. You may be tempted to think when you see the trailer that this could be a comedy or a children’s movie of some sort but believe me, this is no family friendly tale of a symbiotic relationship between a teenage boy and his alien controlled hand. At times the movie gets extremely dark and there’s plenty of gory scenes throughout. After the initial stealth takeover by the parasites, the first hour of the movie concentrates on Shinichi’s relationship with his new alien host, his would-be girlfriend Satomi and his mother. Shinichi’s right hand can contort and twist at will which shocks the teenager, it almost reminds me of the Stretch Armstrong toy. The alien’s intentions are not made clear to the viewer in this movie though you may have guessed what it is. It’s obvious from the start they’re hostile but for now they are quietly taking over key personnel such as a slimy politician and when the time is right their invasion plans will come to fruition (the filmmakers have made sure this scenario takes place in Part 2). Not all of the aliens though are focused on killing/eating humans. Shinichi’s female biology teacher Ryoko Tamiya, herself an alien host is fascinated by the relationship between the pair and rather than wanting them killed she wants them observed instead although her fellow aliens are not quite so keen on the idea. Ryoko is seen to be pregnant but I’m not entirely sure if it’s one of the aliens that has impregnated her or not?

Parasyte part 1 screenshot

You might think this movie is full of action and gore. Yes, there are some gruesome attacks by the aliens throughout the movie which includes a bloodbath near the end at Shinichi’s school when the corridors are littered with bodies but it does slow down considerably until the last 30 mins. The emotional strand of the story comes down to Shinichi’s decision to kill somebody very close to him. Shinichi is quite happy to be passive about the invasion until his caring mother unfortunately gets taken over when she comes to inspect a wounded alien creature. He realises that the mother he knew no longer exists and it’s heartbreaking to see him going on the offensive and fighting her until he manages to eventually kill the alien host. This act places a heavy burden on Shinichi’s mind and make him even more determined to destroy the aliens. The CG effects showing the true face of the alien hosts emerging is incredible – the head splits open into 4 and what comes out is something with a large mouth filled with eyes and teeth which can consume human beings in one bite. They can also produce various sharp bladed weapons when their heads open wide as well. It is said that some fans of the manga are not best pleased with the changes made as Shinichi’s father is alive and well in the manga but in the movie he’s dead. I think fans have to realise that movie adaptations of a manga, novel, game or anime will always have some minor changes made by the studios.

Shota Sometani excels in his role as Shinichi and it’s nice to see the filmmakers bypassing the usual good looking male idol actors for such a blockbuster movie and casting somebody ‘normal’ instead. So far he has only acted in indie productions so this is probably his biggest movie yet. He gives a very good account of himself in this movie even though he is seen mainly talking to his alien hand and manages to make his character endearing to the viewer. Shota is apparently even learning English quickly in the hope that if Hollywood will eventually film the English version they might cast him for the lead role. That looks highly unlikely but fair play to him for making the effort. His co-star in the reliable Ai Hashimoto is as good as ever as Shinichi’s friend Satomi. I also liked Eri Fukatsu as Ryoko in the movie too. Kazuki Kitamura and Tadanobu Asano are only seen briefly though I guess their parts will be expanded more in the next movie.

It’s plain to see that this movie is more or less a setup to what takes place in Part 2 when the fate of the planet will be up for grabs. The trailer for Part 2 right at the very end of the credits looks amazing and it features Shinichi and Satomi becoming very close together plus the teacher Ryoko gives birth to her child. I’m sad that I will not be in Tokyo to see this movie when it is set to be released in May 2015

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie despite a couple of scenes dragging. It’s got an interesting alien invasion story with a fair few scenes of bloodshed which are rather frightening. The alien CG effects are fantastic. Coupled with great performances from a solid cast, this is one movie you don’t want to miss out on. I can’t wait to see Part 2. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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A number of students are forced to play a number of deadly games at their school in which their lives are put on the line. The first challenge involves them playing ‘statues’ against a talking Daruma doll. Somebody has to hit the button on the doll’s back to stop a clock which is counting down to zero but it isn’t easy to do because if the doll catches a pupil moving when it turns around to face them their heads explode in a burst of blood and red marbles spill out of every orifice they have. A lone survivor, a teenage boy named Shun Takahata survives the massacre but his nightmare is only beginning. Out in the hallway, he meets a girl he likes called Ichika. Both make their way to the school gymnasium where they see many pupils have dressed up in mouse costumes. All of a sudden, the wooden floor opens up to reveal a giant mechanical talking beckoning cat (maneki-neko) with a spring attached head. The cat attacks and devours those dressed in mouse costumes. Again there is a countdown clock going down to zero and this time the only way to stop the clock is to shoot a basketball shaped bell through a hoop on the cat’s neck. Other challenges include singing kakeshi dolls and Shun facing off against an evil classmate. Will anybody be able to survive the ordeal and why have the students been chosen to play these games?

This was the first movie I watched after coming to Japan in November. With director Takashi Miike you’ve come to expect the unexpected from him and this movie is probably the craziest one he’s ever done. With a bigger budget at his disposal and loads of CG effects, Miike lets his creative juices flow and he doesn’t disappoint. The movie has been adapted from a popular manga. From the get go of the movie, viewers are immersed into a bloodbath situation inside a classroom in which heads explode in a fountain of crimson and it really does hook you in. The violence on show might be gory as hell but it is done in such a cartoonish way that you can’t really take any of it seriously and Miike is certainly having fun with this story. What’s interesting about the surreal childhood playground games that take place is all of them involve something associated with Japanese culture. It’s amusing to see these traditional cultural icons become instruments of death. The maneki-neko has to be the most insane creation I’ve seen in a Japanese movie for a while. The story moves from one lethal game to the next with plenty of long talking sequences inbetween and part of the fun in watching the movie is seeing what Miike will come up with in the next game. A subplot has a massive floating white cube hovering above Tokyo Tower with the games being broadcasted on screens for the general public to see. The school pupils have been chosen as God’s Children to test their survival skills in order to prove that God exists which sparks off street riots and unrest. Do they eventually find that there is a God out there? Well a large wooden evil polar bear and a talking fish are represented as Japanese Gods in the movie.

As the gods will screenshot

The story’s protagonist Shun is your typical good looking Japanese teen hero. He may be responsible for putting his classmates through their ordeal due to becoming bored and wishing for the uninteresting world he lives in to be destroyed. The game masters are quick to give Shun a polar opposite of himself in a classmate Takeru that likes to inflict pain on his peers and during the climax both clash in a fight to the death. Although it might look on the surface that an alien force could be behind everything at the school, there’s a hint that human hands could be the mastermind of it all as it shows a reclusive computer geek in a room controlling things. At two hours long, it’s inevitable that the movie begins to run out of steam during the 2nd hour and although the movie on the whole is interesting, nothing can top the opening spectacle in my opinion. If there’s a social commentary about religion by Miike in the movie, it’s been lost on me due to not understanding Japanese properly. That’s the problem with watching a foreign movie RAW with no subtitles. In order to fully enjoy this movie, I will just have to wait until a subtitled DVD version comes out.

Overall, even though this movie is great to watch, it’s certainly not one of Miike’s best. I enjoyed it up to a point. There was just too much talking going on in some sections for my liking. I did find the set-pieces very inventive and unique but the story did become tiresome as the movie wore on. I felt Miike was trying to lengthen the movie too much. A good 20-25 mins needed to be cut for the pacing to be better. It’s definitely worth a watch though for Miike fans.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Monster (2014)


Lowlife Ik-Sang is hired by his uncle to retrieve a mobile phone which contains evidence of him assaulting a woman. She has threatened to blackmail him for money. If he was prosecuted by the police it would stop his demolition schemes from taking place. Ik-Sang hires his adopted brother Tae-soo to carry out the job. Tae-soo is a cold and ruthless assassin who promptly murders the woman in her apartment but fails to find the mobile phone. The woman’s 10 year old sister Na-ri who has seen everything escapes from the apartment with Tae-soo in hot pursuit. Na-ri comes across Book-soon who runs her grandmother’s vegetable stand in the street. Book-soon has a reputation for being a bit of a local nutcase where she lives with her cleverer younger sister Eun-jung out in the country. Book-soon takes in the scared Na-ri. During a walk in the nearby woods, Eun-jung who is with Na-ri is murdered by Tae-soo. When Book-soon finds her sister has been murdered, it puts her on a collision course with Tae-soo. She’s not the only one who wants to settle things with Tae-soo. Ik-sang dispatches a number of thugs to kill Tae-soo. Will Tae-soo catch up with Na-ri and Book-soon and kill them both or will Ik-sang’s thugs get to Tae-soo first?

This is a great Korean serial killer thriller which is slightly odd in that in between the nasty brutal murders and bloodshed that takes place there is also some dark humour. Personally I thought the humour looked out of place within the context of the plot and it should have been left out altogether. Perhaps the Korean viewing public likes this type of genre mashing but it didn’t sit too well with myself.

The plot of this fast paced movie is pretty straight forward in that it pits a cold and ruthless killer against a grieving family member who is out for revenge but also wants to protect a terrified little girl from being murdered as well. The viewer gets some background on how the young Tae-soo began his descent into darkness after witnessing his violent father beating up his older brother as he hid in the attic. He makes a deal with his brother that if he kills his father Ik-sang will play with him. When their axe wielding father is killed by Tae-soo whilst trying to attack Ik-sang again, a monster is born. There’s a scene at a bar which shows how emotionless and efficient the adult Tae-soo is as a killer when a noisy patron bothers Ik-sang. Tae-soo without any prompting from his brother kills the person. As the viewer learns later on in the movie Ik-sang and even his adopted mother doesn’t really want anything to do with Tae-soo. He may be useful in helping Ik-sang out at times but he wants him out of the way permanently because he is basically scared shitless of what he is. On the other hand Book-soon might not be a murderer as Tae-soo but she does has some issues with her temper. Dropped on her head by her mother when she was a child, the viewer soon discovers that she’s one card short of a full deck and flies off into a rage at times. Her tag of being called a “psycho bitch” by the neighbours is justified! Get these two to confront each other and you have a death match made in hell!!

Monster 2014 screenshot

After numerous chases which are really tense involving Book-soon and Na-ri with Ik-sang planning Tae-soo’s death, the climax of the movie has all parties concerned converging on Tae-soo’s mothers’ restaurant in Seoul in which Ik-sang has prepared a surprise for his brother but he’s not as stupid as they think he is. At the same time Book-soon also arrives there to rescue Na-ri. It culminates in a messy and blood splattered finale. Those who have a hard time with bloody scenes may have to turn their heads away from the screen such is the amount of gore that’s involved.

Lee Min-ki plays the role of the icy killer Tae-soo extremely well. The handsome character seems to enjoy his killings and likes his red wine. He does look rather cool. Tae-soo does have to get physical a couple of times in the movie resulting in some tough bone-breaking quick fights and not all of these scraps are easy for him to overcome either. Kim Go-Eun takes on the role of Book-soon in quite a manic performance which sees her screaming and crying a lot. It’s a bit off-putting to say the least and I’m sure other viewers will perhaps get annoyed of Book-soon as well. The only likeable character the viewer comes across is that of the little girl Na-ri. She’s played by the adorable and cute Ahn Seo-hyun. You do begin to care for her and hope she comes through this traumatic experience unscathed. I hope to see more of this promising young actress in the future.

Monster is a movie I found to be entertaining despite the strange bouts of humour and the strong bloodletting. It’s got a good storyline and great performances from the cast. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes though especially with the violence inflicted on women which runs throughout the movie and is rather unpleasant. Still worth taking a look if you enjoy your Asian revenge thrillers.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Shady (2012)


Risa is a slightly chubby teenage girl with no friends at school. She is constantly bullied by a pack of girls led by Marisa who calls her “Pooh-san” as her surname is Kumada (Kuma means bear in Japanese). She becomes surprised when one of the cutest girls at her school Izumi wants to become friends with her. Izumi’s explanation is all the other girls are jealous of her looks. So the two outsiders hook up and become friends. As a result of Izumi’s friendship, Risa self-esteen grows and two become close. However, Risa soon starts to suspect that something is not quite right with Izumi and her false smile as she constantly wants to be around her. Even her feeding of the science room goldfish and her pet budgie at home are relegated to the back burner such is Izumi’s need for her attention. What Risa discovers about Izumi is the stuff of nightmares……..

This superb debut feature from director Ryohei Watanabe (who also wrote the script) is a very deceiving movie on the surface. The plot starts out innocently enough and perfectly captures a genuine friendship between two outsiders at school who find solace in each other. The two girls soon spend all of their time together with the friendship slowly but surely beginning to turn very intimate between them. The viewer is made aware early on that something is not quite right with Izumi but it’s hard to point out what exactly that is until the nightmarish reality is revealed during the second half. The subtle hints of the darkness that’s to come are there for all to see: the missing classmate of both girls, why is Izumi living alone in a big house and where are her parents? The movie asks the questions: how well do we really know our friends? Is any of them hiding a dark secret you know nothing about?


A big part of why this movie works so well is due to the incredible acting by the two leads in mimpi and Izumi Okamura. Their portrayal of two vulnerable individuals with an unhealthy relationship is superb and believable. Okamura is chilling as the psychotic schoolgirl. I was very impressed by her. mimpi is also brilliant as the girl whose demeanour changes due to her friendship with Izumi and it will be easy to sympathise with her given that the majority of us will have seen something similar happen during our time at high school. It’s true that having a friend boosts our confidence. The director must also be congratulated for the way he builds up this movie into such a nerve shredding experience. He takes things slowly revealing layers little by little until the full horror of the situation is unveiled. By the time the climax has come around you are literally on the edge of your seat and chewing your fingernails! The scares that come are thrust upon the viewer when you least expect them. It’s brilliant the way he twists what is initially an ordinary friendship tale between two girls into a terrifying psychological drama and this is due to his skill also as a scriptwriter. Watanabe has penned a taut storyline and the pacing of the movie is perfect. Even the camera angles and the colours used in this movie is fantastic. This movie has been universally praised in nearly all film festivals it’s been shown. You wouldn’t think that Watanabe was a newbie director as he’s handled everything like a veteran filmmaker.

Shady is an incredibly gripping and disturbing teenage drama about the sinister side of friendship from a promising new director. It’s a great start to his career and bodes well for the future. I look forward to Watanabe’s next project and hope it’ll be just as good as this movie. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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Tales of the unusual

Tales of the Unusual is a 4 story anthology movie which are linked by a group of people stuck together at a train station during a heavy rainstorm. A creepy man in a black suit and sun glasses played by Japanese TV legend Tamori recounts stories to the group. The stories are:

ONE SNOWY NIGHT – a plane crashes in terrible weather on a snowy mountain. Only 5 manage to survive the ordeal with one female Mari having broken her leg. They decide to leave the confines of the plane as it is likely to fall off the mountain but having to carry Mari proves to be a hindrance to them. The best course of action is to make a bivouac and cover her with snow before the rest try and find shelter. They find a hut nearby and make a fire in order to keep warm. When the survivors go back to Mari they find she has tried to dig herself out with her head popping out of the snow. In trying to get her body out of the snow with a shovel they accidentally kill her. Back at the hut, the survivors are picked off one by one until only Mari’s friend is left alive. Has Mari’s vengeful spirit come back to get revenge?

SAMURAI CELLULAR – Oishi is a samurai chief clan in 18th century Japan who is a bit of a coward. Instead of leading his clan against his enemy Kira who killed his master, he prefers to fool about in bed with his mistress. One day whilst walking down a path he hears a mysterious ringing from a small silver box. Poking it with his sword, he hears a voice coming from it. He begins to talk to the voice who tells Oishi that he is from 300 years in the future and he wants confirmation from him if certain historical events are true. The voice tells Oishi that he is a famous Japanese person and that he will lead his clan into battle and become victorious even though he is a coward. Will Oishi do as history says he will do?

CHESS – Chess champion Akira Kato loses his crown to the computer Super Blue. This loss forces Akira to disappear from the chess competing circuit for a number of years. A rich businessman seeks out Akira and forces him to play a game of chess against him but this is a game with a difference. All the moves he makes on the chess board are real and involve real people who will be sacrificed which includes Akira’s wife. Can Akira win the game?

MARRIAGE SIMULATOR – Yuichi and Haru are a couple that met outside a cinema under a year ago and now they are planning the next step in their relationship by getting married. A wedding company has an offer in which the couple can try out a wedding VR simulator in which they are hooked up to a machine that can show them how their marriage pans out in the future. The simulator does not turn out as planned for the couple and it shows the two eventually getting divorced. After seeing this, they decide to cancel the wedding and break up. Sometime later they find out that they still love each other and become a couple once more…..until they wake up and discover they were still playing the wedding simulator.

Tales of the unusual screenshot

This is a spin-off movie from a TV series of the same name that was shown on Japanese TV – it is similar in tone to The Twilight Zone. It’s very rare for an anthology movie to have all stories that are strong and there’s usually got to be a weak one involved and this one is no different. The stories are really diverse encompassing 4 genres (horror, comedy, psychological drama and romance) so if you’re somebody expecting to see just horror stories then you will be disappointed. It makes for great viewing because of that as it should appeal to people across the board. Each creative tale directed by 4 different directors lasts 30 mins and they are completely unrelated.

The ones that I enjoyed the most was stories 1 and 2 with 3 being the one that didn’t do a lot for me. Story 1 is a brilliant horror tale of 4 people trapped in a hut during a blizzard after a plane crash. It’s effective in being really creepy and it even parodies The Blair Witch Project in one scene. There’s not a lot of blood involved but it does deliver in scares. The second story is more of a comedy tale than anything else. I did find it rather amusing with the character of Oishi being coerced by the person from the future on the mobile phone in carrying out certain actions that follow historical events and that his character does actually change because of this interaction. It is through this interaction that Oishi becomes the man that people in the future will remember him. There’s a bit of a twist right at the end of the story which I really found interesting. I’m not going to say what it is as I don’t want to spoil it for anybody but it was really clever. I don’t want to say a lot about story 3 as I found it to be a bit dull and uninteresting although I am sure some people will like it. The only thing I did like about it was the life sized recreation of a chess board. The last story about the couple has a good concept behind it. It’s rather sweet and touching. I was glad that things worked out for the pair by the time the story finished. As far as the Storyteller that links the stories is concerned, there’s no explanation where he comes from. He just appears all of a sudden with a creepy smile on his face. I’m not sure if he’s an employee of the train station whose job it is to entertain people with his stories if they find themselves having to stay there for a while? I thought there might have been a twist involving the Storyteller at the end but nothing happened.

Overall, I found this movie to be a bit of a pleasant surprise as I was really expecting this to be something akin to Creepshow (i.e horror stories). Those wishing to see a slick Japanese slant on The Twilight Zone will enjoy it. Definitely worth your while in checking out.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Aka Vampire Doll, Fear Of The Ghost House: Bloodsucking Doll

Coming back home to Japan after a trip abroad for 6 months, Kazuhiko Sagawa is desperate to see his girlfriend Yuko Nonomura so he travels down to her secluded home which is in a remote area. Upon arriving, he is shocked to find out from Yuko’s mother that she has died in a car accident. Staying the night, he is woken up by a storm. Walking to the closet and opening the door he is shocked to see Yuko there before he is knocked out by somebody from behind. Upon waking up again and looking out of the window he sees Yuko outside in the garden. He dresses and runs after her into the nearby woods. After catching up and questioning Yuko, he is stabbed in the back of the neck with a knife by her. Kazuhiko’s sister Keiko and her fiancée Hiroshi become concerned when they do not hear from him and head over to Yuko’s house. Her mother concocts a tale that he was fine when he left after spending the night there.  However alarm bells start ringing when they discover a cufflink belonging to him near Yuko’s grave. The pair decide to start investigating to find out what has really happened to him with Mrs Nonomura’s man servant Genzo determined to stop them from prying any further.

This was the first in the 70’s Toho Studios vampire trilogy which centred on the Dracula legend and is actually the best of the trio. Whilst the other two (Lake of Dracula/Evil of Dracula) movies focused on a Dracula-like person (not the actual count himself) and were a bit campy, this tale shouldn’t really be touted as a vampire story as nothing vampiric takes place. Whilst Yuko looks like a vampire bride (pale face and glowing gold eyes), she doesn’t have any fangs and doesn’t go around biting people’s necks. She’s more like a restless and vengeful spirit rather than a bloodsucker.

The Legacy of Dracula screenshot

As I mentioned in my reviews for the other two stories in the trilogy, Toho was trying to copy elements from the Hammer horror movies of the 50’s and 60’s and on some level it succeeds – certainly on the scares and atmosphere which this has in droves. The story plays out more like a mystery thriller than an outright horror in which Keiko and her fiancée play detective by questioning people and looking through town records to uncover a secret about a tragic event that took place at Yuko’s house 20 years earlier and the viewer is aware that Yuko’s mother is hiding something from them.

It’s a shame that the story is a little bit confusing considering it looks great visually (the gothic look is very well done especially the sets inside the spooky Western-style Nonomura house) and has fine performances from the cast. The main problem is with the character of Yuko herself – what has she turned into? If not a vampire, is she a ghost? But how do ghosts come back from the dead as Yuko’s body has been replaced in her grave by a mannequin? So she’s a vampire then? Well no as she doesn’t behave like a normal vampire. A zombie perhaps – who knows? I don’t think director Michio Yamamoto even knows but what the viewer does know is that Yuko’s mother has asked the local doctor to use hypnosis as an aid to keep Yuko alive. Everything is sort of revealed in a plot twist close to the climax though there are still questions that need to be answered such as what eventually happened to Kazuhiko after he was stabbed in the neck by Yuko and who disposed his body?

Despite the issues with the story, I would definitely ask you to check this out as it is a good movie and the blending of Asian and Western horror themes combined with the eerie/creepy atmosphere and suspense that’s generated work well. These ideas are developed further in the next 2 movies of the trilogy.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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eternal evil of asia

Four friends from Hong Kong travel to Thailand to have a good time. They have an altercation with some triads at a casino and flee for their lives. After losing them, the gang stumble upon a practicing warlock Laimi and his pretty young sister Shui Mei. They become friends with the pair and Shui Mei falls in love with one of the men named Bon. Bon rebukes her advances as he already has a girlfriend back in Hong Kong. After they return back to their hotel, Shui Mei asks Laimi for a love hex on Bon which will be delivered to his hotel room. Unfortunately when the package is delivered, Bon’s friends open it and become hexed instead. All 3 find their way to Laimi’s place and have a three-way orgy with Shui Mei who imagines it’s Bon she’s having sex with. In a freak accident after the sexual encounter when the magic wears off, Shui Mei finds herself impaled on a knife and dies. Laimi comes back to find Shui Mei dead and vows revenge on the men who return back to Hong Kong by cursing each one of them that they’ll die in horrible circumstances.

This is a strange but thoroughly entertaining Cat III movie which mixes comedy and horror. It is full of surreal images and when I mean surreal I mean that sincerely!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a weirder scene than having a man’s head turning into a giant penis after calling the warlock a ‘dick head’!! What makes this scene all the funnier is some urine comes out of the top of the head when the man gets frightened!! The movie is low on shock value compared to other Cat III productions but where it lacks in that it delivers on OTT scenes, sleaze and stupid humour instead. So if you’re somebody that expects to see tons of gore and sex then you may want to skip this movie. It’s the craziness that makes this movie so much fun, you just don’t know where this movie is heading and what will happen as the story wears on.


As well as the penis head scene, you’ll see such delights as a man so hungry he starts to eat his own hand, another who thinks he sees ghosts in his own home so he hacks away at them with an axe only to discover that he has killed his family instead, another man getting nails forced into his face (ala Pinhead from Hellraiser), an aerial sex scene which has been copied from A Chinese Torture Chamber Story and a ghostly blow job by Bon’s girlfriend May on Laimi who has made himself invisible!!! If that list of visual treats doesn’t get you interested in watching this movie I don’t know what will!!!!

What I enjoyed most about this movie is it was so imaginative, outrageous and it never took itself seriously. Naturally if you’re offended by some softcore sex scenes especially during the final third as Bon’s girlfriend May battles Laimi in a sexual encounter to the death then you shouldn’t watch this movie but then again you should know what you’re in for when viewing a Cat III movie. There are 2 beauties in the enchanting Ellen Chan and Lily Chung for the men to enjoy during the story. One can only imagine the mirth that took place between the male castmembers when Elvis Tsui first came out as penis head!

This isn’t the best HK Cat III movie you’ll ever see but due to the crazy nature and creativity of it all I guarantee you won’t see anything quite like it in any other movie so it’s worth checking out just to see how off the wall it is.

No trailer unfortunately but here’s the intro to the movie

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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Kotsutsubo (2012)


Eri is a quiet unassuming schoolgirl who stumbles upon her friend Mitsuko being attacked in a classroom by a perverted male teacher. She decides that in order to stop this behaviour she will gather some powdered ashes from a cursed grave hidden deep in some woods and put it in the teacher’s drink. However her plans go awry when another girl Katou who knows about what she’s going to do gives the poisoned drink to a female schoolteacher who promptly goes mad and throws herself from a window at the school. The perverted teacher discovers what is going on, snatches the ashes and decides to take revenge on those who have tried to kill him. Two of Eri’s friends are killed in mysterious circumstances with several limbs missing from their corpses. It seems that in disturbing the cursed grave and retrieving the ashes, the spirit of the dead person is angry. With the police investigating the murders, can anybody stop the vengeful spirit from killing more people?

Boasting 4 members from 4 different female idol groups in the cast, this is just your bog standard J-horror which never tries to do anything different than resorting to cheap and poor scares featuring a long haired female vengeful ghost and throwing in some gore. Don’t expect to see anything new in this movie. If this movie will scare any of you out there I can’t really say but it failed to do so with myself. I’m not sure if the director wanted this movie to be a vehicle to showcase some members of various idol groups or not but fair play to the 4 girls they all act reasonably well. Even though the plot may be unoriginal, it still manages to build a good amount of tension and suspense. It also explores themes of friendship and betrayal which is common in Japanese high school horror movies. The storyline does keep you guessing at times and there is a hint that the ‘bad teacher’ might have murdered a schoolgirl many years ago. The case remains unsolved to the cops investigating the current crop of murders.

Kotsutsubo screenshot

Ex-AKB48 Team A member (although she was still in the group at the time of filming) Natsumi Matsubara takes on the prominent role of Eri. She gives a good account of herself as the schoolgirl who thinks that by stealing the cursed urn and its contents for revenge against her teacher it will make everything alright without thinking of the consequences that happens afterwards. I was happy to see Idoling!!! member Rurika Yokoyama as Mitsuko in this movie. Back in 2009 when I was over in Tokyo during a hot and sticky August, Idoling!!! were performing right outside the Fuji TV HQ on a stage during the annual FNS Summer festival. I was the only foreigner in a sizeable crowd of people and wearing an orange t-shirt. I must have stood out as Rurika kept constantly staring at me during her performance. When the group left the stage, Ruriko glanced once again before smiling and waving at me which was nice of her. So since that time Rurika has been my favourite member of Idoling!!! Rounding off the 4 leading roles are Rina Miyazaki from SUPER☆GiRLS and AeLL member Ai Shinozaki. I can’t say I’ve heard of the idol group AeLL.

Depending on whether you’ve got nothing better to watch, you might want to give this a whirl. It’s not too bad a movie (I’ve seen a hell of a lot worse) but it doesn’t help itself by copying various elements from other J-horrors. Just average for me I’m afraid.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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Pet Peeve (2013)


A student moves into a new town to start university. Finding work at a restaurant and meeting a woman named Yoko, he notices a strange customer (a man with a hat that hides his face) who sits down in a corner. He is warned not to go near him by Yoko but his curiosity prevails and he goes over to ask him if he needs anything. When the man says nothing, the student goes back to serving more customer but when he turns around the strange man has disappeared. This is only the beginning of mysterious happenings that takes place in the town.

This is a bizarre if not an imaginative J-horror based on the manga Fuan no Tane. I have no idea who chose the English title for the movie as I believe the proper translation for the manga is Seeds Of Anxiety which sounds much better than Pet Peeve (I actually think that’s quite a poor title and it doesn’t fit in with the movie’s plot). There are many bizarre images in the movie such as a man who has been cut in half after a motorbike accident and is still alive. How a person can be cut in half after falling into a bush I don’t know but that’s just one of the odd things which you’ll see in the movie. Other strange happenings on show here is two men seeing a woman walking in front of them. They think she looks hot from behind with her short skirt and are desperate to see her face but when they go to have a look they are confronted by nothing but straw! Yes, you’ve read it correctly – a straw face!!! There’s also a sticker which looks like an alien face that marks people for death whenever it sticks on that person’s property, some weird like eyeball worms which seep out from under a road and get crushed by cars and trucks and ghosts with twisted faces.

Pet Peeve screenshot

There are several plots taking place in the movie and everything is out of sequence so you’re constantly going back and forth between the past and the present. This may confuse some viewers and nothing is really explained why all these odd occurrences are taking place. I suggest you do exactly what I did – forget trying to work things out and just prepare yourself to be scared by what transpires onscreen. The movie makes for a refreshing change from the usual J-horrors and there’s not a hint of a long-haired female antagonist around either! It’s also unpredictable as you’re never really sure what’s going to happen next. There’s an ominous atmosphere of fear and dread pervading throughout the movie. The female student Yoko knows more than what she’s letting on which may be due to the fact that she went through a very traumatic experience as a child when her family was murdered by an unknown assailant in a very gruesome sequence and the student is haunted by the mysterious man with the hat who stands outside his apartment all the time. As the movie had a small budget, the CGI effects look uneven at times (the man sliced in half looks particularly bad). The acting is adequate though nobody really stands out. I suppose it’s Anna Ishibashi that I thought was the best as Yoko who is quite a complex character and goes through many mood swings during the movie. She flies off in a temper all of a sudden in certain scenes for no apparent reason – don’t know if that was because she was frustrated by her boyfriend’s (the new student) actions or not. The movie is directed well enough by Toshikazu Nagae and credit to him for coming up with something a little bit different from the norm.

Provided that you don’t really care about the jumbled up plot, you should have a fun time watching this movie. There are some really disturbing images which gives you the creeps and a couple of scares to be had. All I can say is just give it a whirl and see what you think. Some might like the bizarreness of it all and others might dislike it because of the unclear plot. I enjoyed it anyway.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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The Flu (2013)

The Flu movie poster

A container which is full of Hong Kong illegal immigrants arrive at a port in South Korea. When the smugglers open the container the people inside are all dead except for one survivor who flees from the scene. The man is infected with a deadly variant of the bird flu virus and soon the virus starts spreading all over the city of Bondang, a rich suburb of Seoul.  As thousands become infected with the disease, the government orders the army to lock down the city in order to contain the virus. Extreme measures are put into place which angers the citizens of the city. Anarchy and chaos soon takes over. Dr Kim In Hae is a part of the scientific taskforce charged with trying to find a cure but first they must find the survivor and hope his blood contain antibodies.

This is a cracking South Korean apocalyptic blockbuster disaster/thriller. It shows the terrifying consequences of what happens when a variant of the bird flu virus is released and it spreads like wildfire amongst the population. There is no cure and the fatality rate is 100% within 36 hours. The plot contains a lot of edge-of-your-seat drama and it has a good pace about it. It’s true that comparisons to Outbreak and Contagion will happen but I thought that this movie was much better and more enjoyable than either one. The story concentrates on 3 individuals – a rescue worker, a female doctor and her cute young daughter. The rescue worker falls for the female doctor after saving her from a car accident. The female doctor has a personal reason than most to find a cure for the flu as her daughter has been infected. What the movie also does well is show how the government tries to contain the epidemic with many difficult decisions having to be made. You can feel their helplessness as the disease threatens to get completely out of control and perhaps engulf the world. The sense of magnitude of what is taking place is shown in all of it’s gory detail with dead bodies scattered around and sick people coughing up vast amounts of blood. There’s a horrifying scene as the viewer is shown the eventual fate of anybody who’s got the flu virus. They are to be thrown into a mass grave where they’ll be incinerated by flame throwing military personnel. Ji-Goo bravely rescues Mi-reu before she’s about to be torched. There’s a bit of a sly dig at South Korea’s ally in the US as the villainous advisor to the Korean Government who orders a missile strike at the climax to wipe out Bondang by fighter jets is American.

The Flu screenshot

The emotional side to the story is mostly carried by the young daughter Mi-reu who is separated from her mother and she finds a friend in the noble hero Ji-Goo who becomes sort of like a surrogate father to her. The rapport between the two characters is touching. I’m sure there’ll be some tears from some viewers during the climax when Mi-reu reunites with her mother in a zone where anybody crossing from the quarantine district into the non-infected area is shot on sight if they go over an orange line. There is more than a fair share of melodrama introduced during the second half as Asian fans are known to like this sort of thing in their movies. It’s not all doom and gloom in the story as the comedy relief is provided by Ji-Goo’s co-worker.

Soo-ae and Hyuk Jang give convincing performances in their roles but it’s the plucky little actress Min-ah Park that stands out. She is incredible as Kim Mi-reu. She’s definitely one of the best child actresses I’ve seen. I may not be a parent myself but I so wanted to protect that little girl from all the horrors she was exposed to during the movie. You start to care for the 3 main leads as to what will happen to them.

This is a fantastic disaster movie which joins numerous others that Korea has produced over the last couple of years. It’s well written with just the right amount of tension and suspense, it has a terrific pace about it and has superb acting from all the cast. This is a great comeback movie from director Kim Sung-su whose last movie came out 10 years ago. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Sadako 3D 2 (2013)


Set 5 years after the events of the first movie, Fuko Ando is a young woman who is looking after her 4 year old niece Nagi. Nagi was brought to Fuko by her brother Takanori after his wife Akane (the heroine of the first movie) supposedly died after giving birth to her. Takanori blames himself for Akane’s death. Nagi is a quiet child and looks rather gloomy. She is bullied at school by her classmates. Strange deaths begin to follow the little girl. People on trains start seeing mysterious things happening on their mobile phones and others at home are seeing the same thing on their computers before dying. Fuko starts investigating the deaths and talks to a prisoner who insists that Nagi is Sadako’s child and not her brother’s late wife. Nagi is Sadako’s instrument of spreading her curse. She must be killed if there are to be no more deaths. Will Fuko kill the child to save lives or can she find another way of stopping Sadako?

I absolutely hated the first Sadako movie. It was one big horrible mess which was full of gimmicks and so far removed from what I was expecting. I told myself at the time if there was ever a sequel I wouldn’t consider watching it. So here we are a couple of years later with the sequel and what did I do? I just had to see the movie! Thing is, I love the character of Sadako ever since watching the original Ringu trilogy, hell I’ve even named this blog after her!!! There’s something about Sadako and her backstory which I find interesting and I was rather peeved that the first Sadako movie had ruined the legacy of the original trilogy.

Sadako 3D 2 screenshot

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, I thought it would be the same old crap as before even with the change of scriptwriter as the same director was used. To my amazement I found myself actually enjoying this movie even though the plot is flawed and it does get rather silly towards the end. It’s quite a thrilling movie with better scares and twists along the way. There was nothing more ridiculous than seeing Sadako’s hand emerging from a mobile phone in the first movie and thankfully that stupid gimmick has been abandoned. Some of the useless CG effects have been cut down too though there’s still some here mostly to do with demonic hair whenever a person is possessed by Sadako. The plot actually makes some kind of sense this time round though it is still kinda dumb, full of holes and sometimes a bit too predictable. It was quite creepy and atmospheric at times as well, something that was sadly lacking in the previous story.

Basically Akane and Takanori who stopped Sadako before now have a child Nagi who supposedly has one half of Sadako’s spirit inside of her. The other half of Sadako’s spirit is inside the prone body of Akane who isn’t dead after all but holed up in a pure white room underground looking like Sleeping Beauty. Nagi has been told her mother’s dead because should mother and child reunite it will give Sadako a chance to come back alive. I know it sounds silly doesn’t it!! There’s also some issues revolving around Fuko and Takanori’s mother who killed herself in the bath at their home. There’s a great scene showing the dead mother emerging from a bloody bath to scare Fuko and also some nice deaths which include a woman stabbing herself in the eye with a kitchen knife and a person falling from height through the roof of a car. The main woman herself Sadako is barely seen throughout the whole movie which is disappointing. The big question for the majority of the movie is whether Nagi is possessed by Sadako or not? The answer to the question is revealed with a twist right near the end credits. The storyline did make me wonder how Sadako got Akane pregnant in the first place?

The standard of acting I found was also better in this movie. Miori Takimoto gives a decent performance as Fuko and Kokoro Hirasawa is so adorable as Nagi. Even though she is supposed to play an evil character, how can you not love such a beautiful child. Koji Seto returns as Takanori though he doesn’t do that much, the same can be said about Satomi Ishihara who doesn’t have any line of dialogue apart from looking like she’s asleep on a bed.

Don’t come into this movie expecting a return in style to the Ringu movies because it just doesn’t happen. This isn’t a movie in which the tension and dread is slowly built up. At the end of the day this is a fairly entertaining J-horror which should please Sadako fans even though it doesn’t completely erase the memories of the mediocrity of the first Sadako movie from viewers’ minds. Whether there’ll be another instalment to complete a second trilogy – who knows? All I can say is give this movie a go and see what you think.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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A 6 -man Korean expedition team are trying to reach the ‘Pole Of Inaccessibility’ which is in a remote part of Antarctica. Only one other team (a Russian one) has ever reached the place. The team have a couple of months of daylight to try and reach the location before darkness falls across the land for 6 months. Things start to go wrong from the beginning with various mishaps with communications and bad weather hampering them and the team leader isn’t that stable in his mind. An old tattered black flag is found and hidden close by in the snow is a journal which belonged to a British expedition from 80 years ago. The journal recounts the things that happened to them during their mission and the same events seem to be happening to the Korean team now. As tensions mount between members of the team with some thinking they should turn back, the slightly deranged team leader insists they should plod on to their target. He is so determined to reach the P.O.I he sabotages the only communication link they have with their base camp.  Will the team ever reach what they set out to do or will illness and the hidden dangers in the harsh environment they’re trekking in finish them off?

I thought that this movie was going to be one of these supernatural thrillers in which the story is moved into the wilderness of Antarctica rather than the usual locations we’re used to but it turned out to be more of a psychological horror in the end. There’s plenty of promise during the first 30 mins with some hints given that something unearthly or supernatural may be following the team with even a ghostly hand jutting up from the snow which turns up on videotape but all of this is dropped as the more psychological aspect of the plot comes to the fore . You just know after discovering the journal from the ill-fated 1922 British expedition that the Korean team are doomed to fail as they soon make the same mistakes and then things get worse when two of the members disappear. The first hour of the movie is fairly mundane and just shows the growing tension between the team members as they trudge across the ice and have arguments. Although things improve a little bit in the second half I’m sure if the first hour hasn’t perked the viewer’s interest I think the majority will have switched off and to be honest I wouldn’t blame anybody if they did.

Antarctic Journal

The story focuses mostly on one character – the team leader. A veteran of various expeditions, he is haunted by his son who fell to his death and he is slowly becoming insane. Driven by a need to reach the target destination, he doesn’t seem to care for the wellbeing of his team. It is never explained fully if it’s the visions he is seeing that is making him mad or the reason why he has to complete the mission? Even though you might think that the team leader is the villain of the movie, the truth is there’s nobody amongst the characters you can sympathise with so you don’t really care for anybody’s fate by the end. It doesn’t help that there’s hardly any character development taking place and that some red herrings are put in the movie but if you don’t try and explain even just a tiny bit of what’s going on it’ll just confuse the viewer and that’s what it did with me anyway. The source of the leader’s insanity should have been explored more. Was there a supernatural explanation as to why all of the team suffered mental breakdowns – again the viewer never knows.

The cinematography though is fantastic and is the highlight of the entire movie. New Zealand doubles up as the Antarctic and the snowy landscape is captured very well by the director. It shows the viewer that it really is a harsh place to be stuck in and that it takes no prisoners. There’s also a nice soundtrack accompanying the movie too. As this isn’t an out and out horror movie there’s no gore at all apart from one scene that is. One of the team members foot is shown to be suffering badly from frostbite and the leader decides to saw part of the man’s leg off. It is quite a gruesome part of the movie and it doesn’t shirk in showing the aftermath of the amputation. The movie unfortunately also goes on for far too long. Just shy of two hours, a good 30 mins should have been cut which would have improved the pacing a little bit as well.

In the end, it was a decent try by the director to create something different from your usual Asian horrors and with more work on the script it could have been better but in the end I was frustrated more than anything else by the story. Just average for me.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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Phobia 2 (2009)

phobia 2 poster

Phobia 2 is a five tale anthology horror movie from Thailand. The tales are:

NOVICE – a young delinquent teen called Pey is taken to a quiet rural Buddhist monastery by his mother as he has committed a crime – he likes throwing rocks at car windshields resulting in accidents. Her hope is he will stay out of trouble in the monks’ care and he can’t be arrested by the authorities. However, Pey isn’t happy with having his head shaved off and taking part in training. The head monk realises he is out of control and soon Pey is up to his neck in trouble after disturbing the Hungry Ghost festival.

WARD – Arthit is a young man who finds himself in hospital after injuring his leg. In the bed next to him is a dying cult leader who seems to be immobile and in a coma. Arthit is convinced that the man is playing dead and comes alive at night to terrorise him in his bed.

BACKPACKERS – A couple of young Japanese travellers in Thailand hail a lift from a passing truck. The driver and the man accompanying him seem a little bit shifty to the travellers. On their journey there is a loud noise emanating from the back of the truck. The truck pulls over and the driver opens the door to the back. It is full of dead bodies. They are taken out and put on the ground. Then something strange happens and the bodies start twitching and come back alive as bloodthirsty zombies who go on a rampage.

SALVAGE – Set in a car salesroom, the female boss Nuch finds her young son has gone missing in the huge car lot after playing there. Is it something to do with the fact that she has neglected to tell any of her clients that all the cars in her showroom have been fixed after being in deadly accidents?

THE END – An actress who is taken ill on a shoot dies at hospital but returns as a ghost to finish her scenes.

Thai horror movies have been on the up in the past couple of years and this is a very good sequel to the 2008 anthology series which increases the stories from 4 to 5 short terror tales. It was a big hit in cinemas across the country. Each offers something completely different from the others. Anthology movies are notorious for being a bit hit and miss but in this movie all of the 5 stories are great though some are definitely stronger than others. Several of the stories are linked to karma in that if you do something bad it will return twice-fold to haunt you. The first story (Novice) is a great example of this. All 5 stories have been stylishly shot and the stories are well crafted.

Phobia 2 screenshot

My favourite out of the 5 stories is without a doubt the 3rd one (Backpackers). It’s such a tense, bloody and action packed story. You just have an inkling that the driver of the truck who is edgy is hiding something in the back of the truck but you don’t expect to witness the gruesome cargo after being unloaded to come back to life. If you enjoyed zombie horrors like 28 Days Later that gives you an idea of what this story is all about. The 4 people try and escape from the rampaging onslaught of the zombies that are baying for their blood. The makeup, gore, sound effects and just the general feel of the story is brilliant. It’s a hell of a shame that this story wasn’t expanded, I would have loved to have seen a full length movie of it.

I also particularly enjoyed the last story (The End) as it is more of a humourous tale than outright horror. You will probably recognise the characters in this segment   –  they played campers in the first Phobia movie but this time they are members of a film crew. I did find myself laughing several times during the story. It’s a story which mocks the horror genre and of another Thai horror movie (Alone) that the ghost actress Marsha Wattanpanich took part in. She plays a parody version of the character she portrayed in it. I’ve yet to see Alone but I’m sure I’ll check it out in the future.
I would say the 4th story (Salvage) is the weakest of the lot but it’s still a fine story with a good deal of suspense and scares. It does outstay it’s welcome a little bit and has an unlikeable character in the lead role.

There isn’t much that you won’t like in this horror movie. It’s got everything that makes a good frightfest – bloodthirsty zombies, vengeful ghosts, gore and some good scares. Each story is creative and unique. All in all a worthy anthology movie to check out.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Shirome (2010)

Shirome dvd

The female idol group Momoiro Clover are asked to take part in an experiment which revolves around an urban legend deity called Shirome. This deity is supposed to grant a wish to anybody that really wants it to happen but should that person not be sincere about their wish then Shirome will drag their poor unfortunate soul to hell or curse them for the rest of their life. Momoiro Clover have always wanted to appear on the annual New Year’s Eve Kouhaku programme (a Red vs White singing contest) and they will be asked to perform a song and then say their wish to Shirome. The girls will be taken to a secret location unknown to them where they have been told that several people have killed themselves. They have to search for a specific room inside the location and seek out a large butterfly mark which is supposed to show that Shirome is present. Even before they set foot at the location, several strange things begin to happen around them. Cameras taping them are acting up and weird orbs appear. Eventually it is time for them to head off to the location and it is found to be an abandoned school. What will happen to the girls once they go inside the building and will Shirome grant their wish?

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years in watching any J-horror movies starring music idols they’re usually no good and this one unfortunately hasn’t made me change my mind. This is yet another one of those ‘found footage’ horror movies. It’s been said from other sources that Momoiro Clover were unaware that they were being set-up to take part in a fake documentary for this movie but IMO it seemed to me they were ‘in on it’ from the very start. I’m not sure if director Koji Shiraishi is a fan of the group and their management asked him to promote them but I found this to be a poor horror movie. If your idea of a good time is to watch a bunch of teenage girls screaming and crying then fair enough but I was disappointed with it and it’s fair to say this was the worst Koji Shiraishi movie I’ve seen so far. As with my review to Cult, this movie started out promisingly enough but my enthusiasm didn’t last for long. The movie is rather uneventful and it isn’t scary or tense in the least. The storyline is straight forward and to the point. The girls are constantly asked ‘if they are willing to sell their soul to the devil’ for the chance to appear on Kouhaku. Taking part in Kouhaku is a big deal for any music artist in Japan as nearly half the population tunes in for the 4 hour spectacular (though I’d rather watch Downtown’s 24 Hour punishment game which airs at the same time than this!!). Not much happens apart from seeing some orbs floating and some things banging around the girls at the school. There’s one or two creepy moments but on the whole it isn’t a good movie and it gets very tiring by the end. I know I’m criticising the very low budget for the movie but the crude special effects are pathetic to say the least. I’m guessing that Shiraishi’s tactics of baiting the group’s fans to check out the movie helped with the box office takings.


Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Momoiro Clover. I like the girls themselves – they are very sweet and you can’t help but warm to them even though I don’t like their music. They are seen as the next best thing in idols apart from the likes of AKB48, SKE48 etc and their popularity has skyrocketed in the past 2 years. Their acting does leave a lot to be desired and what was the point of having them perform a song twice in the movie (if only to please their fans). It did get annoying hearing them squeal like babies often. At the time of the movie being released, MomoClo (that’s what they’re called in short) weren’t that big of a group. Nothing nasty happens to any of the group during the movie although right at the climax one of the girls seems to be possessed by the spirit of Shirome……until you see what happens next after part of the end credits have been shown.

The only people who are going to enjoy this movie is Momoiro Clover fans. It’s an uninspring J-horror movie if i’m being honest and I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.

Sadako’s Rating: 1.5 star out of 5

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