Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Reincarnation (2005)

Fear 0-5: 5
Gore 0-5: 3
Creepiness 0-5: 5
Entertainment 0-5: 5
Nightmare 0-5: 5

I have said it before and I will say it again, Asian horror directors get the job done and know all the winning elements for creating a movie that is truly creepy and terrifying. Combining mood, atmospherics and a truly mind numbing soundtrack, Reincarnation is the best movie (so far) out of the '8 Films to Die For' series.

Directed by Takashi Shimizu (the man behind the Grudge 1 and 2, Ju-On and a slew of other Japanese greats), Reincarnation focuses it's attention on a good ol' fashioned ghost story. Set 35 years after a grisly hotel murderous rampage, the movie centers on a group of 11 movie cast mates that have been selected to play the victims of the crazed hotel butcher. Little do they know, that each of them are in fact the real life reincarnation of those who were brutally slaughtered.

Shimizu does a phenomenal job of creating some really creepy scenes, devoid of any special effects or cheesy 'jump out of your seat' factors. In one instance, in the midst of silence, a vibrating cell phone is used to heighten emotional effect (watch the movie and you will see what I mean). In addition, he uses background images and environments to heighten the spiraling madness and to create an overwhelming sense of impending doom.

The hotel itself is beautifully rendered and shot, reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining. It is in this portrayal of the infamous hotel where the murders took place, that adds to the overall dread and foreboding of this instant classic.

I won't go into further detail but I will say that this is THE best ghost flick I have ever seen. Yes, I said it, I will accept full responsibility for this bold statement. This flick has it all: creepiness, gore, disturbing images and last but not least, one hell of a kicker for an ending. This is the movie that I was looking for in this series and it definitely lives up to the claim 'too extreme for theaters.' Bonus points to my cohorts on this site who can identify the scene that would be too over the top for audiences that are used to seeing teeny bopper, rehashed horror film garbage.
Posted By: Cortez the Killer
* * * * *
Fear: 2, Gore: 1, Creepiness: 2, Entertainment: 3, Nightmares: 0
Well, one of the things I was hoping to get with this blog was differing viewpoints. Too often I read a positive review of a film that leads me to view it only to be totally let down. I say this to emphasize that Cortez and I really differ when it comes to horror movies.
Reincarnation is, certainly, the most coherent of all of the recent Japanese ghost stories that I have seen. The storyline is relatively easy to follow and, unlike other J-horror, isn't lost in the translation. Shimizu's Ju-On is one of the most frightening films in recent memory (hell, even the American remake was good), but it made zero sense. I understood the concept of an angry and malicious couple of ghosts, but why the characters were doing what they were doing and saying what they were saying was a total mess. in fact, I think this is why the film scared me so much - I had no clue what to expect because I couldn't make heads or tails of the plot. So when the ghost appears under a dining room table in a restaurant, I nearly shit my pants. Plus, the ghosts were effective because they looked like regular people with the blood drained out of them but moved in eerie ways making horrible sounds.
Shimizu, unfortunately, decided to rely on nearly the same formula here. The ghosts occasionally seem creepy, but you expect them to be. Their skin is pale, their hands are down at their sides and their heads remained hidden and bowed until they peek that one eye through the long black hair. They move slowly and deliberately like zombies but with less excitement. You've seen in in Jun-On, you've seen it in Ringu, you've seen it in Pulse, you've seen it in The Eye, you've seen it in Dark Water, you've seen it, you've seen it, you've seen it. Show me something new at this point.
The other thing that bothered me was the female characters in the movie. At the risk of coming across as the "ugly American" I have to confess that the weird submissiveness and tiny child-like voices of the women in this movie weirded me out. I don't know if that was intentional, or just a by product of the culture the characters are from, but it was strange.
That being said I enjoyed the movie. Shimizu is good at creating tension and icky moments that stick with you and there were a couple of scenes that were really cool. The story is inventive and well thought-out and like I mentioned earlier, easy to stay with. There is some really good camera work here and parallel story lines that intersect at a key moment in the film which really worked well, again highlighting the story. And yes, I agree with Cortez, that there are a couple of disturbing things happening on screen involving children.
Overall, a good ghost story worth seeing, but certainly a familiar one.
- Complaint Dept.
* * * *
Really? BEST ghost movie ever? That's quite a claim! I must admit, I did enjoy this movie. Would I see it again? Maybe if it was on TV. I definitely wouldn't buy it. I appreciated the fact that it made more sense than most J-Horor, but it wasn't scary in the least...just slightly creepy.
- Hex


Planet of Terror said...

Really? BEST ghost movie ever? That's quite a claim! I must admit, I did enjoy this movie. Would I see it again? Maybe if it was on TV. I definitely wouldn't buy it. I appreciated the fact that it made more sense than most J-Horor, but it wasn't scary in the least...just slightly creepy.


the fucking beard said...

this was actually the one of the 8 films that i was the least excited to see, based on the preview which looked like every other japanese horror movie. i'll see it, along with the rest of them but i am not hoping for much.

by the way, i saw the box set of dvds last night. 130 bucks. why was everything about this series so expensive? what's more, the "set of 8 films to die for" contains only seven films. why is snoop dogg so under-represented?

Anonymous said...

Just saw this movie, i don't know How you could give this movie that much rating...It wasn't scary at all and i doubt it will give me nightmares tonight :D