Monday, September 27, 2010

Creepy Hide and Seek - Japan

          Director:  Masafumi Yamada
          Year:  2009
          Plot:  "When Ritsuko disappears, her friend Ryoko is desperate to find her. When she discovers that Ritsuko was playing a strange game online of hide and seek, she begins to wonder if it could be related to her disappearance somehow. Ryoko then discovers that the game is more sinister than it appeared at first. It is linked to demonology and the supernatural. Will she be able to get past her fears and superstitions to discover what secrets the game of hide and seek might hold?"

          I have to say, this turned out to be a rather creepy movie.  The basis of it is students playing hide and seek with a ghost.  Now I would so not be playing this game.  Then again, I know enough about the idea of summoning something to know that the outcomes can't be good.  You should never attempt anything without knowing how to send it back.  The kids are told how to end the game, only after playing it once.  Now it is no wonder that someone ends up dying before they know how to end it.
          The movie was rather good.  There were some rather startling scenes that elicited a jump from me, but the movie did kind of fall apart for me near the end.  I didn't find the water logged ghost scary, and I didn't see how the story fit.
          In the movie, to begin the game you have to fill a doll with fingernails and rice, tie it with a red ribbon, stab it with a knife and drop it in a sink or tub.  The problem is, the main character never does this.  Yes this is done to a doll, but not by her.  I didn't quite get how she could be part of the game if she never initiated it.  The boy  whose friend started the game with him watching wasn't killed when he left, because he had nothing to do with the game.  The girl did because she stabbed the doll.

          I suggest giving this movie a shot.  The idea of it and the scenes in the first half are worth you time, even if the ending is a little bit lacking. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Infection - Japan

          Director:  Masayuki Ochiai
          Year:  2004
          Plot:  "In a general hospital near bankruptcy, the reduced staff is working under a severe stress.  During the emergency attendance to a burned patient with Dr. Uozumi and two other nurses, Dr. Akiba and the nurse commit an error, injecting sodium chlorate and killing him.  Dr. Uozumi convinces the team to forge the report to save their careers.  Meanwhile, an ambulance leaves a patient in the emergency with a lethal infection.  When the muscles and internal organs of the patient liquefy, Dr. Kiyoshi Akai convinces his two colleagues to examine and research the virus, leading the employees of the night shift to a tragic end."

          I'm not to sure about how to talk about this movie.  It is so intricate that even at the end you don't fully understand what just happened.  The entire movie is about doing the right thing and treating people the way they should be treated.  When that doesn't happen, guilt burdens the staff tremendously, and the tragedy unfolds.
          I know a lot of people had a hard time understanding this movie.  There is so much information that you have to take into account and remember all the way through the movie even when everything is going crazy on screen.  It is a lot to take in, but that doesn't take away from the good points in the movie.
          I found a place where a person talks about this movie not making any sense and pretty much being a flop.  It seems they never really put the story together.  In reality it seems rather briliant.  It is a movie that you can only really understand after having watched it.  There is so many little things that build up.  While watching it, it all seems to have to do with the patient that they killed.  At the end this idea is thrown out due to a rather important piece.  This leads to a new theory about how one little inconspicuous patient leads to it all.  You’ll be introduced to him, but never really notice him.
          There are places where you can find out the meaning behind the stuff you don't fully understand.  Once you do, you are able to fully understand what happened in the movie.  Feeling guilty can destroy a person and inevitably it will do so.  Infection just shows that in a more complicated fashion.

          You definitely have to watch this movie.  It will definitely leave you a little bewildered, but it will not detract from the interesting storyline.  Once you start watching, it will be hard to stop.  You are definitely going to want to know how this one ends.  Also if you want anything explained.  Just ask me through the Contact Me page.  We wouldn’t want to give anything away on here.  n.n

Hospital - Thailand

          Director:  Pipat Jomkoh
          Year:  2005
          Plot:  "Three friends decide to go to the countryside for a little holiday and then after a car accident they end up in a haunted hospital."

          This movie is only 57 minutes long.  I decided to watch it because it had a 3 out of 5 rating, and was relatively short.  Though I wasn't to sure about how good it would really be.  The plot that was stated really didn't seem too great.  A haunted hospital isn't likely to bring any good storylines because those who die in a hospital aren't very likely to be vengeful.  That idea also kept true with this movie.  The ghost aren't out to kill, they are just there and show themselves in some rather bad timing.
          It turned out that Hospital is a a rather good movie.  It has its points where it gets a little jump out of the audience, but it also has a very well developed storyline.  It starts out where everything is fine, even after the crash, things seem normal.  Slowly though you can pick up little things that don't seem right.  I was rather shocked to find that I didn't see the ending coming.  Looking back I understand the subtle hints I picked up on without having actually figured out the truth.  This aspect for me makes Hospital a very good movie.
          This movie like the Indonesian movie Mirror brought me to tears.  The ending was so touching that even though it was a horror movie the rest of the time, the ending didn't seem out of place.  I didn't feel like the ending was cheap, but that it was actually really touching and meaningful.

          I suggest you watch this movie.  The storyline is really well done allowing you to try and piece things together on your own.  Everyone may not like this movie because of its low amount of scares and "sappy" ending, but it is definitely worth your time to give the movie a try on your own.  You might be able to watch this here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reincarnation - Japan

          Director:  Takashi Shimizu
          Year:  2005
          Plot:  "Nagisa Sugiura (Yuka) is a young Japanese actress who comes face to face with a slew of ghosts.  These restless spirits begin to appear when she signs on to star in a horror film which tells the true story about a crazed, local professor whose murderous rampage at a hotel left 11 guests dead, including his young son and daughter."

          I wasn't too sure I wanted to see this movie based on the stated plot.  It sounded decent, but I put it off for another movie that a lot of people said was great.  I wish I would have choose this one first.  It was definitely better than I had expected, but then again its co-writer and director is none other than Takashi Shimizu.  Maybe if I would have known who the director was I would have watched this sooner.
          I'm not sure I rate this one as scary.  It did get my heart going a few times in the first half, but after that, it wasn't scary.  It was more about trying to figure out what was really going on.  Trust me there is something rather intriguing going on in this movie.
          You are led to believe one thing in the beginning, and slowly you start to realize that isn't the case.  If you pay attention, you can discover the truth before it is told to you.  It's those kinds of movies I really enjoy.  I want to own this one.  The storyline is so well written that it gives you those subtle hints without completely revealing itself.

          I do suggest this movie.  It won't get much scare if any after the first half really, but the quality of the storyline will definitely make for a worthwhile use of your time.

Whispering Corridors - Korea

          Director:  Ki-hyeong Park
          Year:  1998
          Plot:  "While investigating the school files, the frightened teacher Mrs. Park startles and calls the young teacher Eun-young Hur, telling her that the deceased Jin-ju Jang is back.  The line dies and Mrs. Park is attacked and killed by a ghost.  On the next morning, the teenager Jae-yi Yoon waits for her friend Ji-oh Lim, who has the ability to call the spirits, and they begin a close friendship.  The abusive and aggressive Mr. Oh, a.k.a. Mad Dog, is the substitute of Mrs. Park and prohibits Ji-oh to paint and compares the performances of the pretty So-young Park and the weird Jung-sook Kim, raising a barrier between the two former friends.  Miss Hur misses her former friend Jin-ju, who committed suicide, and while trying to contact her, she discloses a dark secret about the past of her friend and Mrs. Park."

          So I have found many places where people list Whispering Corridors in their top 10 best Asian horror movies list, but I really have to disagree with this.  I just didn't find anything appealing in this movie.  The killings were as bland as that from a tv drama, and the time between killings was so drawn out I almost turned the movie off.  And I rather regret not doing so.
          I know they were trying to show the relationships of the girls to show the motives of the ghost, but it kind of ruined the movie for me.  It was a little reminiscent of a soap opera albeit one with a vengeful ghost.  I've never been one for movies like Whispering Corridors.  I like a good heavy fast paced storyline, and this movie just failed in that perspective.
          This is one movie I do not consider to be horror.  Only three people died in the movie and not in any extravagant ways.  It might have been more worth while if the deaths were more interesting, but they weren't.  I doubt even after I watch all the Asian horror movies I can, that I will even bother watching the other Whispering Corridors movies.  I would hope the others are better but I don't really want to waste my time if they turn out the same as this one.

          If you want a fast paced storyline with clever death scenes, skip this one.  I know there are some out there who liked this movie, but if you can't stand really slow movies it is pointless. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cinderella - Korea

          Director:  Man-dae Bong
          Year:  2006
          Plot:  "Hyun-soo's happiness comes to an end as her friends who have received facial surgery from her mother start to commit mysterious suicides by cutting out their faces.  She also starts to feel that there is someone else in the house where she lives alone with her mother."

          Cinderella turned out to be a decent movie.  The storyline had a twist that was enjoyable, but there was absolutely no scares in it for me.  Nothing even got my heart going.  Even so, I would definitely watch this movie again when I am not in the mood for being scared.
          I really felt sorry for both of the girls, Hyun-soo and the ghost girl.  The mom on the other hand was just horrible.  I know she wanted her daughter, but what she did was so wrong.  That one act destroyed their lives and that of Hyun-soo's friends.  It was just selfish.  You can't really forgive someone for being that selfish even if it was for a mother's love.
          I don't have all that much to say about Cinderella.  There were no scenes that scared me, so I can't comment on any of those.

          If you want a scary movie, definitely skip this one.  It is not scary.  Though if you are looking for an interesting movie, I suggest you give this one a shot.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sick Nurses - Thailand

          Directors:  Piraphan Laoyont, and Thodsapol Siriwiwat
          Year:  2007
          Plot:  "In a neglected hospital, seven young nurses and a respected doctor have been selling body parts of dad patients on the black market.  When one of the nurses falls in love with the doctor, she urges them all to get out of the scam.  Threatening to go to the police, she is viciously murdered and dies uttering a vengeful curse.  Seven days later her tormented soul, longing to find its love, returns.  Preying on each of the woman's obsessions and weaknesses, she exacts her horrifying revenge."

          I am still kind of unsure about this movie, which is rather strange.  I don't know if it was good or bad as a horror movie.  The first half of it is a little strange because it skipped between nurses a lot.  Though it was rather cool being able to see the parts were the stories overlap.
          This was not a scary movie, though a couple of scenes had me a little shocked.  There's just something about swallowing razor blades that bothers me (but I absolutely love it).  n.n  Anyway it wasn't scary because the best character in the movie was the ghost, and she seemed to have a sassy little attitude.  Also the fact that the nurses were so caddy, irritating, and just all in all unlikable can lead you to hope for their deaths.  If you are wishing for someones death, how can it scare you?
          Sick Nurses isn't a bad of the movie.  The ghost is very likable, and their is a good little twist in the story that I definitely didn't expect.  After watching the movie I didn't feel like I wasted the time, but it wasn't I am going to watch as a horror movie.  On lazy, boring days, I might just have to pull this one out again and watch it.  n.n

          If you are looking for a scary movie, skip this movie.  It won't be worth your time if that's what you're looking for.  However, if you are bored and want to see an interesting little movie where the ghost turns out to be your favorite character, watch Sick Nurses.  It will use up some time of boredum without wasting your time entirely.

Bloody Reunion - Korea

          Director:  Dae-wung Lim
          Year:  2006
          Plot:  "A group of elementary students return years later to visit their former teacher-who has recently took ill-in the countryside.  Once the group arrives, the film briefly jumps back and forth between the past and present, showing us that this sweet teacher (Mrs. Park) had a cruel side to her.  We also find out that most of her former students have murderous intentions towards their teacher.  And they're not the only ones with murderous intentions."

          The plot doesn't sound too great.  It seems to be a little chaotic with all the information that they suggest in the plot, but the plot isn’t really as chaotic.  It isn’t hard to keep track of things while you watch this movie.
          The storyline of this movie was rather lacking for me.  It had a twist in the end that made me think, "Are you kidding me?"  It wasn't that the story was shocking or anything.  It was that you spend the whole time on something that didn't happen as it is told.  Those kind of movies always make me made.  It just seems to be a copout and is pretty much the equvalent of saying it was all a dream.
          Even though the storyline was rather irritating, there are a few gory scenes that are enjoyable.  I am more of a plot makes a good movie kind of person rather than one who would rather see a lot of gore and a shabby plot.  However, I still liked this movie.  It is odd for me, but the gore really made this movie quite memorable.

          Check out this movie if you like gore.  It doesn't have an over abundance of gore but what it does have might just stick with you.  Though, if you want a clever plot and a creepy atmosphere, you might want to skip this one.

Pulse - Japan

          Director:  Kiyoshi Kurosawa
          Year:  2001
          Plot:  "After one of their friends commits suicide, strange things begin happening to a group of young Tokyo residents.  One of them sees visions of his dead friend in the shadows on the wall, while another's computer keeps showing strange, ghostly images.  Is their friend trying to contact them from beyond the grave, or is there something much more sinister going on?"

          Just like with Ringu, I had seen the remake before even knowing about the original.  The remake was good when I first watched it, though it wasn't scary, it was still rather good.  So when I saw Pulse on the international channel of my mom's cable, I had to watch it.  It turned out to be a really good movie, though i didn't find it scary or evening creepy.  It was more of a sad yet touching movie.
          This movie had a lot to do with real life.  Sure it had the additives of ghosts and everyone disappearing, but it also had a very real backing theme.  All the people slowly start to fade away which is a lot like what happens to us everyday.  You make friends with people and then without knowing why they just kind of fade away from our lives and there is nothing we can do to stop it from happening.
          I have to say that it was a rather slow movie anyone who wants something fast paced and scary should probably avoid this one.  I usually dislike slow movies, but the characters in this one really grew on me and I just couldn’t stop watching it.

          If you are looking for a good movie but not really scary, watch this movie.  If you want to be scared, however you will probably feel this movie is a waste of time.  If you do happen to watch it, don't go at it expecting to be creeped out, just expect a rather world relevant story.  Also the first half seems rather strange while watching it, but things do start to make sense and it is there for a reason.

Ringu - Japan

          Director:  Hideo Nakata
          Year:  1998
          Plot:  "There is a video tape that brings about your death seven days after watching it.  After her niece dies, reporter Asakawa Reiko starts to investigate.  By doing so she brings the curse of the tape down upon her and her family.  With only days to live, it is a race against time to find the cause of the curse and stop it."

          Like many Americans, I watched the remake before ever even knowing there was an original.  Mind you this was before I even had the money to start buying Japanese CDs.  After finding out there was an original Japanese version I desperately wanted to see it.  The remake was so stupidly hilarious that I figured the original couldn't be any worse, and I am glad I was right.
          In the original, there is a much better storyline.  In the remake, they tried to make it scary and lost a lot of the key details that make the story so interesting.  Like Asakawa's niece trying to help protect her cousin.  Little things like that keep the story pretty well rounded.  You have the ghost out killing people, yet you also have one trying to help.
          I feel that they lost so much of the story trying to make it "American".  I understand things needed to be changed because some aspects just wouldn't fit, but by doing so you destroy the feel of it.  I found the tape, the ghost and pretty much everything else about the remake to be pretty average.  It didn't elicit a single scare from me, scream, jump or even a sped up heartbeat.  It was still an okay movie and I own it (didn't buy it though, it was a gift) simply for the fact that it is "horror", but I wouldn't buy it or even pay the money to have seen it in a theatre.  Ringu however I most certainly would.
          There's definitely something about Asian horror movies that Americans just can't mimic.  It has to be the build up of a scare.  American horror has a tendency to be about the scare and that's it, and they will do pretty much anything to get it, you know the loud noises to startle you.  That is so very common and just not scary.  All that does is keep me awake during the rest of the pointless movie (take Nightmare on Elm Street's new remake, a total snooze fest while watching it in the theatre yet it wouldn't let me sleep).

          Skip the remake if you haven't already seen it and instead watch Ringu it has a much cleaner storyline and isn't muddled with all those nonsense additives (like the horses, that never added anything meaningful).  Better yet, read the book by Koji Suzuki.  The little twist is really enjoyable, seen as neither movie used it.  The book is so much better and has the complete story on what is taking place, and let me tell you this, if the tape had been anything like it was in the book, even I would be scared.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gin Gwai (The Eye) - China

          Directors:  Oxide Pang Chun, and Danny Pang
          Year:  2002
          Plot:  "A blind girl gets a cornea transplant so that she would be able to see again.  However, she got more than what she bargained for when she realised she could even see ghosts.  And some of these ghosts are down right unfriendly.  So she embarks on a journey to find the origins of her cornea and to reveal the history of the previous dead owner."

          Well having seen the remake first, I already had the basic understanding off what was going on.  Knowing that however didn't make the movie any less enjoyable.  There aren't too many "scare" scenes, but that is rather normal for an Asian horror seen as it is more about the build up than the actual scare.  Now this aspect leads to more interesting storylines such as this one.  
          The scares disappear pretty much all together at the end, at that point it is more about an emotional connection to the characters.  If you've fallen into the world enough by that point, you will really love the ending.  If it was just about the scares for you, you might be a little disappointed.  I on the other hand really enjoyed this movie.  I have to say that I didn't really like the remake even when watching it for the first time, but this one used my time wisely.

          I suggest this, if you have seen the remake, I still suggest you watch Gin Gwai.  It's a really good movie.  If you haven't seen the remake or this one, watch Gin Gwai and skip the remake.  The original tells a more complete story.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman - Japan

          Director:  Kôji Shiraishi
          Year:  2002

          Plot:  "Legend holds that 30 years ago, a suburban town was terrorized by the spirit of a woman whose beautiful face had been grotesquely disfigured by a jealous husband.  Roaming the streets wearing a long coat and surgical mask, the spirit would approach her young victims and, while removing the mask, ask if she was pretty.  The victim's response would almost always lead to their violent death."

          One of the original Asian horror movie that I own is Carved - The Slit-mouthed Woman.  The plot is kind of hard to plainly state.  The movie is loosely based on the Japanese Urban legend Kuchisake-onna, which tells of a beautiful woman whose mouth was cut from ear-to-ear by a jealous lover.  The urban legend also goes that her ghost roams around wearing a surgical mask asking people "Am I pretty?"  If you were to answer yes, she would remove her mask, showing her disfigured face and ask, "How about now?"
          Carved doesn't exactly stick to the urban legend, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good movie.  The image of the slit-mouthed woman's face is rather eery, and had me going when I watched it late at night at my grandma's house (already a creepy place).  When I watched this movie, my sister watched it as well.  We were the only two awake, and toward the end of the movie, a scene came up where the ghost appeared, and my sister screamed, waking up our grandparents.  That was rather funny.

          If you are like me and don't scare easy, still check out Carved, it is a good movie even if it isn't really scary.  If you scare a little easy, you might just find this movie too your liking.  n.n

APT 9.56 - Korea

          Director:  Byeong-ki Ahn
          Year:  2006
          Plot:  "Se-jin, a young woman who lives in an old apartment in a Seoul suburb, amuses herself by observing the windows of the apartments on the other side.  One day, she notices that the lights of some of these apartments are turned off at the very same time.  She begins to suspect that this pattern is somehow related to a series of mysterious deaths in the neighborhood.  She becomes more and more deeply involved as she attempts to solve the mystery."

          The plot didn't really catch my attention when I first read it, and I had been searching for another movie with the same sort of title.  I decided to give it a chance anyway, and I am glad I did.  What I found is a rather interesting movie.  The featured ghost is reminiscent of Ju-on or The Grudge, but still different.
          The killings take place in a very vengeful way.  The people seem to be getting what they deserve based off what they did.  There is an exemption to this, but the others stick to a very vengeful pattern.  There is also a very big twist to the movie that I have to say I didn't see coming.  The twist has to do with the ghost.  The thing is, if I tell you anymore it will ruin it.

          In Closing, I suggest this, if you think you have seen too many grudge-like movies, you might not want to see this movie. If however, you like this sort of genre, which comes around a lot in asian horror, you should definitely check APT out. It is rather good despite some other people's reviews. n.n
          Also I would like to note that grudge like ghost occur a lot in Asian horror, much like crazy killers in American horror.  It is just a cultural thing.  People like them, so they are made in different ways often.   It just happens.

Mirror - Indonesia

Director: Hanny Saputra
Year: 2005
Plot: "Kikan was a cheerful girl, but suddenly she turned into a quiet loner when she discoverd she had very disturbing gift.  The gift she discovered was that she could see the shadow of death of people in mirrors."

I have watched a few previous asian horror movies. One of them was the Indonesian movie Mirror starring Nirina Zubir. The plot is pretty simple, Kikan (Nirina Zubir) was a cheerful girl, but suddenly she turned into a quiet loner when she discoverd she had a very disturbing gift, a gift that allowed her to see the death of others in mirrors.
In all, the movie is really good. It isn't scary at the end at all. Instead, it is really sad. I ended up crying, which I never expected to do while watching a horror movie.  I am quite serious.  Even with somewhat sad endings to other movies, they weren't even close to being tearjerkers, but this one definitely was.  It was very touching.  I wish it hadn't ended the way it did, but I guess it is a good thing that it did.  I have remembered this movie well despite all the movies I have watched.  The main reason was the very memorable and sad ending.

Watch this movie.  You just might love it, even if it doesn't scare you too much.  n.n   This might be kind of hard to find because of all the other movies with Mirror in the title, so here is a link to Mirror part 1.