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Chakushin ari final (2006)
Should have been a duo
One Missed Call Final started off really strong and then three hours passed and I was thinking "damn they dragged this out" - only to look down and see that only fifteen minutes had passed and then, for some reason, it turned into The Grudge. Then the ending, one of the better parts, just sped by. I don't know what it is about this film that has the middle hour just drag out, but it's a damn shame, it really could have closed the series up better; this series probably should have been left as a duo.
1,000 Short Films in a Year - Entry #48
#NoFilter was a short film I stumbled across on YouTube when looking for a good horror short to watch and after looking up what it was, the poster and synopsis caught my eye as something maybe worth watching. It was only six minutes, it wasn't long so I decided to go for it and have a look at it anyway - if it sucked, it's only six minutes of my life.
What I found was a short that started perfectly normally and didn't feel foreboding in any way and then, within two minutes, I was taken to feeling uneasy to pure unnerving content being flashed at me that will definitely be flashing back across my eyelids when I go to sleep tonight.
I admit if this was in a full-length feature film; I wouldn't be rating this scene so highly; I'm rating this short so highly because it's hard to bring all these emotions and such across in just 5 minutes and to do so well - many feature-length films struggle to do so across an entire hour and a half to two hours. What Rosario directed and wrote is well crafted and deserves to be noted for that.
With the message as well to stop worrying so much about how you look, as someone who's a bit narcissistic themselves, this definitely made me glance at my phone and think about how much I edit my photos before posting them. Solid eight out of ten
Chakushin ari final (2006)
Should have been a duo
One Missed Call Final started off really strong and then three hours passed and I was thinking "damn they dragged this out" - only to look down and see that only fifteen minutes had passed and then, for some reason, it turned into The Grudge. Then the ending, one of the better parts, just sped by. I don't know what it is about this film that has the middle hour just drag out, but it's a damn shame, it really could have closed the series up better; this series probably should have been left as a duo.
Extremely mild spoiler in terms of tropes
Another typical slasher/revenge horror film with the added effect of AI being the culprit. I haven't personally seen this yet; I've seen a lot of AI films in horror in recent years but usually, it being a demon possessing the AI, so it's quite a nice change to see A.M.I. This is pretty corny and it could have done without the cliche mentally ill ending; not an amazing piece of cinema for the ages, but it is a nice little guilty pleasure film, especially around Hallowe'en. I would recommend giving it a try but probably wouldn't watch it again.
In the Tall Grass (2019)
It took me three hours to get through this film...
The idea of this was really cool and you can tell what the director wanted; it was ambitious for sure but it just fell flat. After the first half-hour, forty minutes, it just became repetitive and felt like the entire film itself was just looping from the first ten minutes. A great and intriguing idea, but bad presentation and attempt - a shame because if this had been done right, it would have been amazing.
Took my breath away
The Tunnel is a movie I hadn't really heard anything about before choosing to watch it. Usually, I need to have something recommended to me before I can sit and devote my time to it; this usually cuts down me watching bad movies or movies I just didn't enjoy. Tunnel, however, was just something that came up on my Netflix after watching many k-dramas. The plot sounded similar to a lot of things (I.e. the western "127 Hours") and I didn't give it much stock. I decided it would be something I could watch just because I knew I'd put it on my planning to watch list. I decided to kick back and watch it due to a personal goal set by my therapist and wow.
Tunnel is a film that starts off relatively slow, and, at first, I'd given up after half an hour because I didn't think there would be much more to it. Prompted to finish it, again, all I can say is just: wow.
Tunnel takes you across a journey that is utterly heart wrenching, heart thumping, leaves you on the edge of your seat and left me gasping audibly at different parts of the film. It's hard to remember this film is a work of fiction - the cast is simply amazing.
Between their raw emotional acting, the casual gentle humor and the realistic expressions and actions all characters created throughout the film, this was just utterly stunning. For the last forty minutes of the film, I was in tears. My emotions were all over the place, I was stamping my feet with the tense atmosphere, gasping out loud and had to pause a few times to wipe my tears enough to see.
The acting alone in this makes this film utterly worth the while, and I was definitely blown away. Maybe it was because I went into this film with low expectations, expecting it to be another rubbish survival movie but this had utterly everything - atmosphere, acting, soundtrack.
I would gladly sit and watch this again and I'm not someone who watches something more than once unless completely enamored. A solid 10/10 and a high recommendation.
A Sad Thriller More than Horror
I stumbled across this by chance when I was browsing Netflix. Catching up on some Western horror films I'd missed that were recommended to me, Aurora popped up as a suggestion for me. I originally skipped past it before realising it was Filipino and I went back to it to watch the trailer. I've been looking to have my first films and dramas in each country on MDL so I decided to go ahead with Aurora being my fist Filo film after clarifying it was Filipino.
My Twitter friends said that it was hyped up in the Philippines but it was commonly held as a bit of a flop within the horror genre.
Now, Aurora is made and is meant to be a horror film. I went into it expecting to be a little spooked, not to a high degree because of the reviews I had heard said it was pretty bad. The few CGI effects to give this the horror theme completely tanked for me, and I won't lie - the horror is pretty bad. It doesn't hold its own as a horror film in any form.
However, the acting in this, the story behind it are intriguing. It kept me hooked in, it kept me rooted in my seat in pure curiosity. This is definitely a much more sad thriller than a horror film. I finished this feeling devastated, with tears in my eyes after the credits began to roll. The acting in this made this utterly amazing, the cast truly brought the feelings in this to life. It felt like this was currently happening in Asia, watching these families go through their loss and watching Leanna and her younger sister was going through hell. The music in this was as well amazing, it fits the film perfectly; there wasn't a single score in this that didn't help my emotions lift or drop alongside the story.
I think the best way to go into this film is to not expect a good horror film. Expect a sad, chilling thriller that is similar to many real-life occurrences around the world. Not as good as it could have been as a horror film, but definitely give this a try if you like sad films.
Kill It: Episode #1.2 (2019)
Still great, but a little let down after the first episode
As much as I'm enjoying this drama and the pacing, the characters, pretty much everything about this, I can't help but already feel a little disconnected. As the plot continues onwards, it feels more like we've been dropped in the middle of a series without any back story nor explanations; so much so I actually checked to make sure I wasn't accidentally watching a sequel series without having seen the parent story. I'm a little disheartened by this, but I've noted from comments they tend to go into back story and such a little later on - I feel like they could have started that much earlier from the first episode, but other than this, I have no qualms. This is great and I'm really enjoying it; just a shame it feels a little disconnected from the audience.
Kill It: Episode #1.1 (2019)
This is an awesome first episode for a drama. It shows us enough of the leads for us to begin to form opinions on them but also doesn't give too much of their stories away to keep us wondering who they are. There are moments where both leads are just super badass; Hyunjin is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to see more of what her character has to offer. This drama has a lot of potentials and I haven't felt more drawn into something that isn't a horror medium in a long time. There are one or two things I would change, but overall, I'm definitely looking forward to it and seeing how this develops.
Ghost Mother (2007)
"Renowned" horror falling flat once again
Ghost Mother is one of the prominent Thai movies alongside films such as Shutter. It is a film that many people recommend within the horror genre; horror fans and non-horror fans enjoy it together and revel in its creepiness and tenseness. I figured it would be one of those gems within Asian horror and if it wasn't, then I ticked off another prominent Asian horror film at least from the extensive list I have of the "OGs" to watch.
And that is pretty much all I got to do with this film. Tick a film name off a list and also catch up on some sleep.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of things, I want to say that the cast in this was amazing. The characters all felt real and three-dimensional. There were no parts where I felt like there was bad acting or anything of the sort. The cast all did amazingly with what they had been given and I'm very interested in at least attempting to watch some other things they've been in.
That's pretty much where my enjoyment runs out.
My issue mostly that lies with Ghost Mother is that it's promoted and shared as a horror film. This is not a horror film. This is a thriller if anything. Although it fits many horror tropes, this film is not relatively scary, nor creepy or unsettling, and I struggled with finishing this - probably wouldn't have if my OCD allowed me to abandon things and not force me to finish them. There were a few points where I did get a little tense and had my hairs stand up on end, but that was about 7 minutes of the entire film if that. This is promoted as such a wonderful horror film but it's just not. There was a point where I fell asleep for ten minutes, woke up and made a coffee, woke myself up and then almost fell back asleep during the same ten minutes. The storyline is unique enough for it to have pulled some amazing work out of the bag but it fell short on so many levels. There are moments where I was staring at my screen confused as to what was going on, I couldn't remember some characters relationship to other characters, and all in all this just fully struggled to keep my attention for longer than a few minutes at a time. My mind kept wandering, I kept checking how long I had left to watch, and I just didn't enjoy it at all.
I admit I am sad I couldn't enjoy this film. I didn't go into it expecting a massive amazing 10/10 across the board film, but I figured it would at least be at an average or just above average standard. I went into Ghost Mother expecting a 6-7/10 film but came out of it disappointed with a 4.5/10 and I'm pretty sure I'm being nice because it's such a beloved piece. There are other Thai horror films that are truly scary, are true epitomes of horror and I recommended spending an hour and a half watching one of those, rather than this, unfortunately.
Ankoku joshi (2017)
A rare masterpiece
The Dark Maidens is a film that I did not have the intention of watching at all. I hadn't seen a trailer for it, I had not come across its page on MDL or IMDB, nothing of the sort. I was clearing out my "watch later" list on my YouTube when I came across "Mystery 2017 School Japan Detective Eng Sub" and I decided since I had some time to kill I'd watch it and see why I had it saved in my to watch later.
I think I can safely say that is one of the best decisions I have done when it comes down to watching something because of random chance.
When I first began this, due to the name the uploader had set it as (The Dark Maidens), I believed this was going to be another high school set suicide blood fest horror film living up to many of Japan's horror tropes in their films. After the first twenty minutes or so, I had to pause to come and read the synopsis because I was confused. After reading it, I did think twice about watching it as I don't really go for the whole murder mystery genre; I find quite often Japan doesn't do it as well as they do their high school based horror. Shrugging it off, I decided why not because I'd already started it: and wow.
The Dark Maidens took me on a long, twisting, amazing journey of friendship and betrayal, of life and death. The first thing I picked up from this film was the utterly beautiful connections from well-known murder mysteries - such as Miss Marple and Agatha Christie, of whom are referenced in the film's prominent literature club. Although reminiscent, it still had its own originality that left me glued to my screen - something that is pretty rare for me. Usually, I have to pause quite a bit and rest my eyes due to poor eyesight and having to read subtitles, but I watched this almost entirely in its completeness. As the twists begin to unfold, the story becomes more and more convoluted with such a shocking twist and turn at the end that was nothing short of smart. I was confused for a short while in this film but the script writing sets it up utterly perfectly for its ending. The writing in this is absolutely nothing sort of genius and I haven't been left this gobsmacked by a twist in a film for a long, long time.
The cast in this was perfectly selected. Every single cast member played their roles perfectly, whilst also giving off such a feeling of ethereal beauty (along with a little help from the gorgeous editing), that made me feel like I was watching a twisted fairy tale rather than a murder mystery. Their acting in this was spot on and they took what they were given with the script and made it, simply, their own.
Every single thing about this film adds up to create something that I would say is nothing short of a masterpiece. There was nothing in this film I can even recall as a fault, nor can I think of anything I would have liked to see more or done better. This is one of those films I recommend everyone try if they can find the time to try it out and I am utterly grateful for whatever choices I made to sit and watch it when I did. This has definitely opened me up to the murder mystery genre; that's something I never thought would happen with how obvious and guessable many are in the genre.
I have seen comments and remarks that this is quite rushed for the film considering this is based off a book and frankly, I' thankful I watched the film first. I didn't know this franchise existed and I will definitely be reading the book later this year after watching this. I would say, having not read the book, if you want a full experience for the film to definitely watch the film first. I don't think if I had read the book first that I would have enjoyed this as much as I had done and although it spoils some of the book, from what I have seen, there is a lot more content in the book that is free game to discover brand new even after watching the film.
Teketeke 2 (2009)
If you thought the first one was bad...
...Then this is just an insult to the word "bad" as a descriptive word for a film.
Spoilers for the first Teke Teke film here; in the original parent story, we see a typical urban legend horror film that's based around finding out what is going on and how to stop it and can it even be stopped. It's quite a cliche for an urban legend horror film and as much as I didn't enjoy it (I gave the original film 4.0/10), it still made me laugh and have one or two tense moments and jump scares. I did not want to watch the second film, I only did because leaving a film or drama series unfinished irks my OCD. This was more of a chore for me so maybe I liked it a lot less because I already went into it expecting nothing - but even then I still came out disappointed.
Teketeke 2 is set as a sequel directly onwards from the original Teke Teke film and that is exactly where this film makes its first mistake. This film is only an hour and twelve minutes long, there isn't much time to fit everything in without it being rushed - so they decided that the first 5 minutes of this second film would be a recap of the first. This cut down the film time for the second movie to an hour and 7 minutes. You would think that this film would be rushed with an overall run time of 67 minutes to fit an entire film into, but, you'd be wrong. The first quarter of this film is so slowly dragged out that I ended up pausing and drinking numerous coffees to keep myself awake watching it. There is so much that is unnecessary for many scenes to include in this for the ultimate movement of the film, that cutting out what isn't necessary at all would bring the film down to maybe 55 minutes in actual length. There is so much you can actually skip when watching this, it is eye-rolling.
After the first quarter of the film, things - thankfully - begin to speed up... and then things just start getting way too rushed. Instead of levelling it out, the directors instead slowed it down as much as possible and then just threw everything in at once instead of cutting out unnecessities and adding in necessities in more detail. You would think after what comes across as quite a rookie director mistake that it would get better but... it doesn't.
The special effects in this are even worse than in the first film. The blood is unbelievably fake that they are using for these death scenes that I think if I had been able to care what was going on, I would have laughed so loudly it would have hurt. Thankfully, the CGI is a little better than the original film (if you haven't seen the ridiculous and infamous Teke Teke jump gif, you're missing out) but it's still not enough to even try and save this film. The good CGI was an attempt to defibrillate someone who's been dead for six years and unburied from their coffin; they literally just tried to give CPR to a skeleton and called it a day.
If the too slow, then way too rushed ridiculous blood spraying wasn't enough to thoroughly ruin any enjoyment I could have gotten from this film, then they turned it into the Ultime Cliche. Ultimate Cliche x Ultimate Cliche. Not only do they still follow some of the (more unliked) cliches of urban legends films, this becomes an over the top Asian high school kids bullying revenge royale. They have managed to take unliked tropes from urban legends and include some of the most well-liked cliches from high school horror films - probably in an attempt to save some of the film with well-liked tropes - and somehow managed to make tropes that don't get old fall flat on their face ridiculously hard.
This entire film was a mess from start to finish.
And I'm sad; Teke-teke was an urban legend that I discovered when I was quite young. It used to give me nightmares and make me wake up chilled and pulsing with adrenaline. It used to haunt me under the covers and whenever I had to walk home at night alone. The film series was always so enticing to me because I wanted to be scared, I wanted it to spark back those childlike feelings of paranoia and terror. Unfortunately, the overactive imagination of an eleven-year-old built a better plot in a nightmare than a director could do for a renowned film.
Definitely just skip this film; the first film can get away with a lot of stuff if you let it but the second one doesn't have a chance to hide from a lot of its injustices. Skip this series and watch a different urban legend film; you'll thank me for it in the future when you stumble across this on late night television and realise you were going to watch it long again.
A gem of South Korean horror, but not in a good way
South Korean horror is an entire minefield of either being a complete miss and a snooze fest, or they are absolutely stunning and keep you thinking for hours or even days afterwards. Rarely, you come across these gems that are interesting and exciting in a more thriller type way than horror; they're not absolutely blow your mind amazing movies, but they also aren't going to put you to sleep with a pathetic excuse of a plot line.
The Red Shoes is one of those rare, not quite a hit but definitely not a miss movies.
At first, this movie held me with a lot of intrigues. Based on the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson where beautiful red ballet slippers will force the wearer to dance until they die or to cut their own feet/legs off in an attempt at survival, I was highly excited to see where this film took that original line. With the number of remakes and basic plot rip-offs of 'The Red Shoes', I was excited to see a film that took the premise but made it original for once. With some parts, inherently the same as the story and others completely changed around to make it the director's own. Kim Yong-gyun has definitely succeeded in making something on this. I was whisked away into the whole new world of the red shoes story. I found myself gripped and gasping for a lot of the first half of this film.
The acting was stunning, from all the actors and actresses. I want to give a big shout out to Park Yeon-ah and Kim Hye-soo who play the films prevalent mother-daughter combo. They were convincing, there wasn't a moment I doubted these characters weren't real and weren't living through this on the other side of the world. I cannot fault any of the cast in this film and the main and support role actors, I will definitely be watching more of their filmographies just from their performance in this film.
However, I have a couple of complaints about The Red Shoes as much as I have praise for it.
Firstly - and this sounds nitpicking and petty - but the shoes aren't even red. They're a magenta, some would even argue a pale pink in some of the lightings. Now, I understand that this was a choice based on Kim Yong-gyun's decisions to make the film his own. I'm not against it, I quite liked that choice to take it one further step away from Anderson's story and to make it into Yong-gyun's story. The reason I have an issue with this mainly is that keeping the title and such as it was, as "The Red Shoes", looks to me that they were relying on the name of the original story to fill out theatres a bit more. Again, that's fair and it's a commonly used marketing strategy with some films like this. However, it feels a little to me as though they might have been doubting the film's ability to stand on its own without that basis. This could have easily been named The Pink Shoes and been its own story without the comparison to Anderson's story; it would be similar, but wouldn't have been fully linked. This is more of a personal grievance and it doesn't really affect much within the movie, but it did make my eye twitch a few times through the film - each to their own pleasures and grievances, I suppose.
My second issue with The Red Shoes was that... this isn't a horror film. Yes, there are parts of it that are genuinely scary. There are parts of this that only fit into the horror genre aspect. However, when it came down to it, it really wasn't so scary. As a horror fanatic, this kind of horror is just "infantile" for a lack of better word. This is the horror that directors make to appeal to NON-horror fans rather than horror fans themselves. Word spreads, people who are easier scared go to see the film, they pass on word of mouth, etc; whilst horror fans find themselves struggling to sit through the entire film. This is much more of a bloody slasher thriller than it is a supernatural horror - and it's painfully obvious that Yong-gyun was aiming for supernatural horror, not a gory thriller. This film used so many cliches that are ripped from successful films before it of it's attempted genre that it's almost laughable.
This all being said - I did enjoy it to a degree. I think the idea and the plot line was refreshing. I think the acting was spot on. I liked the twists in the story much more than I have a lot of horror plot twists. However, I feel like this lacked in just as much as it did well.
If you aren't such a massive horror fan, then this will probably be a terrifying film to you, or will definitely make you quite paranoid about what shoes you're trying on. If you are a die-hard horror fan like myself, I think the only reason you should really watch this is that it has a refreshing new take on a fairy tale that's been used in so many horror mediums before. I appreciate Yong-gyun's efforts with this film, I do, but he missed the mark quite severely on quite a few things. I wish my rating could be higher, but there's too much lag for me to consider an extra half a star or two.
Pâfekuto burû (1997)
Dark, solid, and stunning
Watched for MyAnimeList's Anime Watching Challenge 2019 - Watch an anime Featured in an article from 2018 onward
Perfect Blue is an anime film known throughout the horror community for being a twisted psychological journey. Released in the 90s, Perfect Blue had a lot to try and stand up to in the years of psychological thrillers being released month after month. It had to make a name for itself and stand out among many similar genre movies and shows.
And it did it perfectly.
Perfect Blue is a stunning thriller that delves into the psyche of idol life. It's a dark and twisting journey that leaves you confused in the best way possible before revealing what you couldn't have thought possible for the storyline. Alongside its beautiful classic anime style, the voice actors bring these characters to life in the truly most spectacular of ways. They feel like real people, developed and alive in the world we sit in; I found myself caring for Mima as though she were a younger sister or a friend. The story left me with an unsettled feeling in my stomach and anxiety gnawing at the corners of my mind as I scanned scene after scene looking for any hidden clues I was missing.
This movie left me in shock, reeling and hungry for a lot more than what we got. It did everything perfectly, played the viewer into believing things so spectacularly, I didn't even notice obvious hints that things weren't to be believed. I was thrown from loop after loop in the best way possible and this has a definite rewatch factor of at least seven out of ten.
This is a stunning film that's truly intriguing without even trying - horror fans should definitely give it a try and see what they think. Turn off the lights, settle back with earphones and the volume up as loud as you dare and allow yourself to be taken on a twisted journey through the psyche, stalking, and the darker side of idol life.
Koe no katachi (2016)
Watched for MyAnimeList's Anime Watching Challenge 2019 - Watch an award-winning anime
As someone who grew up partially deaf, Koe no Katachi is a manga series that has held my heart ever since I first discovered it. Shoko has always been a character I've been able to somewhat relate to and look up to in a way. When the anime movie was first announced, I wasn't so keen on the idea. I didn't think they'd be able to fully create the same effect that the manga has, the same beautiful scenes and facial expressions that really capture the full heart of this story.
I'm so glad I decided to watch it and at least try it out and see how it was.
What Naoko Yamada did with the Koe no Katachi franchise is nothing short of amazing. You can feel just how much love went into this film, how much care was put into the frames. I don't think I caught any mistakes or goofs or any sight of any lazy drawing or animations.
This is an utterly touching story on depression, writing your wrongs, friendship and a strong message that no matter what, you aren't alone. With tense scenes, beautiful heart-felt scenes that make you tear up and sniff, this is the utmost best that could have been created for the Koe no Katachi franchise. This film brings together all the handcrafted details that make this story as special as it is. Every second is crafted from nothing but pure love and attention to detail to create such an accurate and detailed story that leaves the viewer out of breath, in tears and with a fully warmed heart. As someone with impaired hearing, I could not have asked for better representation in Shoko and as someone with depression, I couldn't have asked for better representation than Ishida.
If you haven't watched this yet, I highly recommend it.
Yami shibai (2013)
A short and sweet horror gem
Watched for MyAnimeList's Anime Watching Challenge 2019 - Watch an anime with 10 or more episodes that are each 15 minutes or less
Yami Shibai is a series of five-minute episode ghost stories in a thirteen-part series. With each episode focusing on a different story, there is definitely an aspect of horror for everyone to be found in this short series.
This series has a lot of charm in its own way; it has its own animation style definitely different from a lot of anime styles that are found nowadays and it runs well. At first glance, it looks more like something for children, (almost reminiscent of shows like Gorey Tales for Gruesome Children in the United Kingdom) but its ability to make you tense and jumpy for their predictable jumpscares is something to be desired. There aren't many mediums in recent years that can set up something completely predictable but still manage to make the viewer jump and tense up. There were many times throughout this fifty-two-minute series that had me so tense that I got mild muscle cramps.
Each story is unique to its own style of horror with the likes of tropes similar to Ringu, some of Junji Itou's works, etc., but each story managed to continue to keep the horror factor up. There was only really one episode in this I didn't really like for the factor the tone of the horror changed compared to the rest of the series - however, it still unnerved me for different reasons and it kept the series up to par with its horror levels.
With six seasons so far of this absolute little horror gem, all I can say is that if you're a horror fan, you'll definitely get a kick out of this one. It's dark, unnerving, short and sweet, and still has enough of the "is this character literally dumb" moments to also keep you laughing. Yami Shibai is an amazing piece of horror medium and I cannot wait to binge the rest of this (so far) six season anime series.
Interesting look into DeG's old discography
Note: Character marked as one simply because there isn't much to base the characters off. Character: no opinion
Watched for the music type genre in the anime watching challenge 2019
So, this isn't an anime for sure; it's animated not anime but I used this for my AWC19 challenge as a new Dir En Grey fan as something that interested me in the music side of things. As a new fan, I didn't know much about Dir En Grey's past in music past what a friend of mine had told me so Agitating Screams was a bit of a what the hell moment for me. After rewatching it, it's somewhat obvious this is ero-guro style, so of course, not everyone is going to enjoy this unless you have a liking towards body horror artwork and a general liking for rock music or Dir En Grey.
Overall, this is an angry disturbed music video with a lot of strange and disturbing lyrics (most notably: "I'll rape your daughter on your grave"). It is disturbing and my repetition in using the adjective is because there isn't much else to describe it. For me, it's somewhat classic angry-rock with a style in a medium that I very much enjoy reading and watching in anime and manga. I think if you're not keen on ero-guro, this might be very unsettling and even maybe hard to stomach even with the animated style taking it away from a realistic look.
I did enjoy this more as a DEG fan. It's a nice look into their background as a band and to see the stuff they did as they started but honestly; if you're not an ero-guro fan and/or fan of the band, it's probably best if you stay away from it.
Junji Itô: Korekushon (2018)
An insult to Itou's effort, time and creations
If you're looking for a comedic, bad art style collection of things not to do in any horror situations then congratulations, you've got a 10/10 anime right here, go ahead.
If you're looking for an anime creation of some of Junji Itou's sickest works then you'd probably have better luck creating it yourself.
Now, a lot of fellow Junji Itou fans warned me off watching this. Being a relatively new fan, I took their warnings into consideration but I still chose to watch this with a friend as something for us to do in the evenings. Part of me really wishes I'd listened to other fans of Itou, but part of me is also now glad - at least I know now that when I read the mangas I have yet to read, I'm going to enjoy them ten times more.
Although the storylines in this are spectacular and follow Itou's work perfectly, the art style in this let it down. The only word I can use to describe it is just. Lazy. Terrible pan shots, notable repeated uses of the same frames, and just some generically bad drawing where some characters didn't even have their full noses drawn on. Each episode seemed to drag on longer and longer and the only reason I continued watching this was to avoid dropping an anime and having my first red mark on my MyAnimeList statistics. It was simply shocking. Although the sound work and seiyuu's brought this to life, the artwork fully ruined it. As many other's have said - this is somewhat of an insult to the beautifully constructed art frames that Itou spends so much time and energy to create. Maybe they were rushed and that's why it just seemed limp and pale, but there was no excuse for this to be rushed. They should have tried to hire Itou on board as the art creator and director, frankly. This was just an abomination and I wish Splatter would work on sections of the brain so I could forget I ever forced myself to sit through this.
I think truly the thing that most disappointed me in this was just that I ended up laughing through a lot of the scenes. I ended up sitting and laughing through scenes that were meant to be sad or disturbing because the artwork was so bad and - if I'm honest - that actually hurt a little bit. I shouldn't be laughing through the work of one of my favourite authors for his disturbing and intriguing work. It's just not right.
Miss this, if you're an Itou fan, truly miss it. Learn from my mistake and run for the hills like every other Itou fan in this review section is warning you to do.
Deserving of much more of the bad rep that it's received
I've noticed a lot of people don't like this OVA for the fact that it doesn't stand up to the Miike film that was released a year before this OVA. This review is from someone who has read half the manga currently and has seen the Miike film three times and is currently watching it for a fourth as I write this review. Although I can see their point, I think it's important to take this at face value as a different form and new look into a series. This isn't meant to be related to the movie in any way, and going into it expecting it to be similar will ruin the experience for you.
-- Story --
So this isn't so much of a retelling of the manga as much of a sort of backstory into Ichi himself. If you're coming into this expecting the gore and slasher themes of the film or manga, you're going to be disappointed. Although some of the depraved aspects of the franchise are present, this isn' the ultimate gore fest that many people are used to and I think that really has to be kept in mind before watching. Aspects of the manga and film are present to a small degree but in reality, this is its own work with no ties. I cannot emphasise that enough. It has enough of the dark and gritty aspects of the franchise to keep some hooked; this is more of a character study, however. It's an interesting look into Ichi himself as a person and how he became to be. It's more of a somewhat psychological take behind a character which is something I did hope for in the franchise - the characters are so twisted and dark, there's an underlying questions as to why they've become the way they have and the people they are in the franchise at the current time. Frankly, I'd quite like an anime like this surrounding Kakihara and his backstory.
-- Art --
The art isn't as good as you'd expect for an anime franchise of something as famous in the horror scene as Ichi the Killer and that is a letdown. Although the use of colouring is well done and fits the mood, there's a lot of repeated frames and even some repeated scenes that have been copied and pasted into the final edit. It makes it feel like the OVA was slightly rushed through nearer the end as if they were panicked about a time schedule and had to just do with what they had to make the best they could. If that's the case, I can forgive the repetition, but if it's not then it's a shame and it could have been done better. I haven't found evidence to support either so I'm unsure where I fully stand on the art.
-- Sound --
The sound work in this was excellent. The voice actors were perfect for their characters and the use of sounds in specific scenes was spot on. Some of the sounds really made me squirm and it was really well done from a sound aspect. I did get a curious knock on the door from my neighbour checking everything was alright after I had the volume on this too loud whilst watching.
-- Character --
It's hard to review this from a character aspect, truly. Although we see glimpses of other characters this is more around Ichi than anyone else. It would be best described as a character case study. For that, I was going to rate this less than I gave it until I sat back and wrote this. For a character study arc, of sorts, this did really well with Ichi. It really dug into him and his character, the things that have made him who he has become in the franchise we know. It took a new eye to him then the base knowledge we knew and showed his development over a period of time to become the depraved maniac everyone knows from the franchise. The voice acting was spot on and Ichi's reactions felt so realistic. The characterisation was really well done and it really allowed a better look into Ichi and a new look into the franchise.
-- Enjoyment --
I really did enjoy this. I was a little let down with the fact that not all characters were present and that the story wasn't the same - but I did get to adapt and realise this wasn't another retelling of the story. That really boosted my enjoyment of the OVA and allowed me to settle back and just enjoy the full OVA. It was reminiscent enough of the original story for that small thrill, but not enough to feel like it was just another retelling of what I'd already watched or read and I liked that a lot.
-- Overall --
Overall, I'm going to be honest. I think this was given a bad rep by people that were too occupied with the movie and compared it instead of taking it for what it is. It's reminiscent of the story but in a new way that's been adapted to not be another retelling and I think that took a lot of guts on the creators part. To create something like this and add in a lot of new information not present in a franchise with such a large cult following takes a lot of balls. It's a fresh new take and it was refreshing, to say the least, knowing I wasn't going to be watching the full story once again.
Does Ichi the Killer deserve a full R-Rate anime series? More than likely, everyone will say yes, and I agree. Is this anime OVA that series? Not at all. Is this worth a chance with fresh eyes? In my opinion, it definitely does.
Relatively okay, but shouldn't have been a stand alone
I came into this with quite a few misconceptions of this OVA so, take this review with a pinch of salt - I probably didn't get the full level of enjoyment from it as I should have.
I started watching this with the belief that this came after Tortured Souls (for those new to the franchise, that's the four-episode series based off the games). I believed this was a recap and introduction to the characters before the events of the main game/anime series. Essentially it is that but made two years before TS.
Serving as basically episode zero or a lost pilot episode I think this would have been better off as an introductory episode in the actual TS series rather than as it's own OVA. If you don't know the franchise or didn't read what this was about before watching it, it would be confusing and muddling to understand what's happening.
This is essentially just putting characters in positions and somewhat normal situations as an introduction but with nothing much to explain them other by their names. The sound work in the introduction scene I found extremely well done, but past that, something about this just didn't click for me. Some of this OVA's eleven minutes is simply some repeating cuts and similar sounds and although the sound work is done well, it just feels repetitive as though the creators didn't know what to put into it.
Watching this as episode one of TS would probably be better for anyone going into it, but watching it as a stand-alone is somewhat disappointing and unfulfilling.
Kôpusu pâti: Book of Shadows (2016)
Much better than it's predecessor
Spoilers contained for the first Corpse Party movie
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is a live action movie based on the events of the horror game, Corpse Party. It's a sequel to the first live action movie based on the lore of the game (which was. Terrible, to be quite frank) but I think this one really hit the mark for what a live action of this franchise should have been.
Book of Shadows follows the two survivors of the first movie in this series as they return to Heavenly Host Elementary once more to try and save their friends as they arrive in the past.
This was exactly what the franchise of live action needed. The acting in scenes is much better and less cringe-worthy although some scenes definitely could have been done better (i.e. close up stabbing scenes just looking someone twisting something sharp very lightly across a dummy).
The return of an original villain from the original lore into this reimagined was also done amazingly and was something I was annoyed with the original film for missing out.
I really like the angle this film took. I think it was just far away enough from the lore of what I knew of the franchise personally and did it in a way that seemed reimagined. It didn't feel like a rip off for quick money like the first and it could stand alone as its own movie if flashbacks had been edited in.
The ending itself in this was absolutely spectacular - I didn't expect it at all until the very last few seconds before the main reveal and I think it was done wonderfully. Book of Shadows is a movie that I am definitely interested in watching again and I definitely recommend just skipping the first live action and coming straight to this one. It feels much more realistic and more composed than the first.
Côpusu pâtî (2015)
Missed the mark entirely
Corpse Party is a franchise that is known throughout almost the entire horror community. When this film was announced, it was definitely a case of either it would be amazing or it would be terrible. Unfortunately, I'm on team terrible.
I've been a fan of Corpse Party for quite a while now, I've gone through nearly all forms of the franchise. The games, the anime series, and now the movies. If you don't know what Corpse Party is; a group of friends who do a small magic ritual to say goodbye to their friend end up trapped in the cursed school of Heavenly Host Elementary, where ghosts haunt the school and kill those who end up there.
Now, my issue with the movie lies within that they kept the exact same plot - but they changed many elements of it. Yet they didn't change enough of it. Instead of it seeming like a fresh new take on the anime and the games, it seems like just a bad market remake for cash in the series. Everything was the same, but nothing was the same if that makes sense - the same plot happened but they weren't separated. Characters died much before their time and it threw the whole timing off. Two specific ghosts instead of three, only one missing item between them both instead of the original three where they should have been two. One of the original villains not showing up (although he makes an appearance in the sequel - which was much better, that's for a review of Book of Shadows).
This entire movie also felt extremely rough paced. They rushed to do in an hour and a half which the anime series did in just under an hour (around 57 minutes) and that was with some of the plot taken out and some of the characters prematurely ended which took time up in the anime in their original deaths. Maybe I am comparing it too much but to change some basic elements and then not enhance anything you've changed just wasn't the best move the scriptwriters and director could have taken.
The casting was really well done - other than Yuka who seemed much younger than her teen years and not in the same way the original lore make her seem - but the reason it's rated low was the acting. Although many characters do their pieces well, some of the scenes were just inherently cringey. It was obvious - for example - where a character is scratching at the floor, the actor was hardly doing it and didn't seem scared at all. It was basic acting in the scenes where it was needed the most. The gore in this was also something that was somewhat atrocious. 2015 had some amazing special effects available to them in makeup and props alone so to see close up, dizzying shots of specific gore scenes where the gore is meant to be the main thing was also just... really eye rolling.
I don't think I could ever rewatch this myself, to be totally honest. The whole thing felt more like a money grab than anything to do with the games or the series or the lore in any sense. Many scenes should have been done better and frankly some of the actors acting ruined crucial scenes of the plot.
This was a live action that was either going to be done amazingly or just terribly and they missed the mark of anywhere near decent by miles. The sequel is a much better movie than this one and I frankly recommend just watching the series with the most basic knowledge of the lore of Corpse Party.
Koroshiya 1 (2001)
A sick twisted journey of gore, humor and abuse
After being a fan of Asian horror for so long it definitely took me way too long to get to this film. Based on the manga of the same name, this cult masterpiece from renowned director Takashi Miike (One Missed Call), this follows Kakihara on his search for the man who killed his mob boss.
Now this movie is probably well known for the fact is it gory. It is shameless in its cult tropes, including sexual assault, beatings, torture and gory deaths. In fact, when it was first debuted at a film festival, the audience received barf bags with the movie's logo on it as a gimmick. I have no doubts some of those bags were actually used.
Ichi the Killer is dark and twisted. The torture scenes do not leave anything to the imagination in its full graphic imagery. Miike truly outdid himself in this bloody twisted plunge into the yakuza.
But strangely enough, it actually bored me a little bit. When coming into this, if you've seen the trailer for the film, you've pretty much seen all the most horrifying contents of this film - and if you're a gore horror fan this is probably the only reason why you're watching this film. It was disappointing, to a small degree, that the parts of the film that either intrigued audiences to watching or horrified them were already broadcast throughout this film leaving only two or three scenes to truly shock the audience if they've seen the trailer. That being said, however, the story is intriguing. Although it seems mundane especially at first, the plot line is twisting and surprising at times. I found it enjoyable to go through the story as things began to twist out of proportion, as they didn't make sense before they linked up in unbelievable ways.
Everything about it really keeps the audience captive throughout the movie and I find that's something hard to do in a movie like this. Gore films are usually splatter-horror, disgusting images on the screen to shock the viewer and keep their stomachs twisting with little thought to plot or the plot suffering as an afterthought. Many plot-driven horror films also end up story driven, without much gore or shock-horror within them to make the audience's stomach churn, but Miike truly got the best of both of these aspects into one film. However, I feel like the storyline became rushed at the end of the movie coming up to the final fight scene and I feel like perhaps they cut some of the script out for timing issues which were a shame. There could have been more to it and things didn't feel quite right when it finally ended. There were also a few loopholes that didn't get closed in the final scenes before the credits which made me hope for a sequel, yet I don't think any plans have been thought up or ever will be.
The acting in this was something special, in my opinion. It must have been hard for the actors to go through these gory scenes without flinching, cringing and such, even with it not being its full content within filming. I can't think how many takes some of the scenes must have taken. Each character is well developed, is completely three dimensional. Asano Tadanobu and Omori Nao in their respective roles were truly amazing. Each of their characters felt completely real - like these were people who could be living down the street to you or you might pass when walking down to the shops. They truly brought the characters to life in all their sick ways and it was stunning to see.
Overall, I think this is a movie you only really watch once. This movie is a lot for most people and I don't think many people could stomach the thought of watching it again. However, I think this does have a certain rewatch value to it for the gore/slasher horror fans that come across it. It has a certain charm of disgust that chills the soul and sends goosebumps down the spine. It's deliciously wicked in disgusting ways and Miike definitely made a mark in the slasher-horror genre with this. I don't think another movie could ever stand up to the legend this classic has created.
Disturbing, but not without its downsides
With items such as the modern movie Tokyo Gore Police and the recentish anime and movie series, Japanese body horror genre isn't something that has gone unnoticed. It's something that has taken hold of its roots and become it's only genre, popular within its own right, making viewers uncomfortable or making our eyes widen with how grotesque things can be.
As a fan of the Japanese body horror genre, having read a lot of manga and seeing quite a few movies, I wanted to take a look at some of the more original, more classical side of the genre. That's how I came across Tetsuo, the Iron Man.
Now, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't what I watched. I both feel entertained and uncomfortable, but also like I came off a bad drug trip. I've just finished it and I have a migraine but you know what? It's actually pretty good.
Now, I genuinely have no idea how to write a review and summarise what I just watched so I'm just going to recommend almost straight away to watch the film, if you're interested.
This is body horror? A definite check. Does it do its job in making the viewer uncomfortable? 100% Does it have its ups? Of course Does it have its down? Definitely.
What's good about this movie is that it does it's job for sure. You're uncomfortable and very on edge throughout the movie. There wasn't much time that part of my body wasn't seized up and uncomfortable from what was happening on screen. The content does incredibly well and I imagine when this first came out, it was truly horrifying. The soundtrack - if it can be called as such - did an amazing job with causing you to feel uneasy and I even twitched around and fiddled with my ears at times to soften the sounds. The editing and filming also portray the visuals of this in a way that's unnerving and makes you flicked your eyes away from the screen.
Now, the editing was also something bad. My migraine from finishing the movie was from the constant start stop state of the movie, as thought it were stop motion. It left me feeling quite ill at parts during the movie and made my eyes go cross eyed. Those sensitive to motion sickness, I would definitely advise avoiding this movie. The soundtrack, although extremely good, is extremely high pitched at times. This went straight through my ears and caused me some severe ringing and discomfort, and irritated the hearing issues I already have. I did have to unfortunately pause it a number of times to take a moment.
Overall, it's very mixed for me. It does it's job and it does it very well, but some choices have left me feeling quite ill when I finished it, and there was definitely no need for it to be taken so far in terms of some aspects. As for rewatch? I highly doubt I ever will, unless it's just to make my friend(s) watch it to see them get uncomfortable.
Chakushin ari (2003)
A cult classic for the ages
One Missed Call is known as somewhat of a cult classic within the west. There's that remake we don't talk about much that people watched once and then went to watch this original. Thankfully, I managed to skip the White remake and got to watch the original without having the bad taste of remake in my mouth first. I'm glad I managed to watch this one first - and probably definitely won't watch the remakes.
One Missed Call is probably the medium that started that old email chain mail - remember how paranoid you used to get recieving an email saying if you don't pass it on to so many people some scary thing will kill you during your sleep? Welp, if that terrified you, you probably want to stay away from this movie. Meanwhile if paranoia creeping down your spine everytime you hear your phone ring or vibrate is something you want, then watch on.
I'm not quite sure what I was expecting from this movie. I knew the general premise and at first, it seemed more like Final Destination than anything else. It's not really until the third character that anything really starts to happen, and things get spooky.
Maybe I'm more desensitised to horror than I originally thought. The music didn't do me justice personally, nor the acting; none of these actually scared me. It wasn't until we see the things happening that things got scary for me. That was more all down to the darkness effect used for me, more than anything. I think if I hadn't seen as much horror that uses the same effects, I would have been more scared by this and more on edge. There were two different plot lines occuring nearer the end and it got quite confusing for me to figure out what was going on between all the characters. There was a lot happening, and I think the second plot line could have been dropped or made much simpler.
I probably wouldn't rewatch this. Maybe once if I don't watch the sequel/s until further into the future and I want to remind myself what happened in the first; that would be the only reason. The ending for the first film alone ends it all very well, and doesn't leave much room for another movie; I'm not sure if I'm excited to see where they'd take a second movie, or if I want to leave it rounded off as it was.
Overall, this does have a good scare factor. It's enjoyable, the plot is well enough that you can sit through it without being bored even if it's not scary to you. It's a good movie if you haven't seen it, and I definitely recommend it.