Thursday, December 28, 2006

Reincarnation


Reincarnation
Original title: Rinne

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu, Japan, 2005
Horror, 95min
Distributed by: ?


Story:
Young actress Yûka [Nagisa Sugiura] finally lands a major role in a movie. A horror movie to be directed by infamous gore director Matsumara [Kippel Shiina], based on violent true life murders that took place in a hotel some thirty five years ago. A deranged professor one day snaps and goes on a killing rampage murdering eleven people with his family and himself included. As the preparation for the film gets going Yûka finds that there’s more going on than just making a movie as she finds herself tormented by haunting visions of the professor’s daughter.


Me:
So it took me a while to overcome the struggle to stick this movie in the player, because I kept thinking, crap I just picked up another Shimizu movie, and in my opinion Shimizu’s first three Ju-On movies, especially the first J-Horror one, really brought something new to the table and where really atmospheric masterpieces. The creepiness, the non boom-flash-shock approach, just slowly and subtly built, the fact that the ghosts just where there almost naturally, and the terrifying sounds that the ghosts make and that kind of stuff just work perfectly. So obviously I was worried that this would just like the U.S. remakes of Ju-on (Grudge & Grudge2) just be ninety minutes of reusing the same old bag of tricks. After a rather predictable and lame opening sequence things take a nice firm pace, Yûka starts seeing the ghost here and there, and there’s some very effective moments, and even though they where very Ju-on-ish they actually had me jumping with the shocks, so obviously I was getting ready to rethink my take on Shimizu, perhaps he actually was more than a one trick monkey. Unfortunately he loses me in the final reel, perhaps I was expecting more after the promising build up, but I just didn’t like the ending. But before we get there he’s got some serious shit going on here. Spooky child ghost, haunted hotels, broken spooky dolls and a mysterious murder add to the mysterious blend. Don’t get me wrong although I find Shimizu to be taking an easy way out, with four Japanese instalments, two American remakes, and a fifth Japanese version on the go which will undoubtedly generate a third US remake, he’s not to be confused for a lazy guy. I have the greatest respect for him, and I can understand why he would want to helm his own remakes in the US, hell the foundation of one for them one for me has worked for plenty of other directors and actors through the years so why not. And if his US movies get him enough credit to keep experimenting back at home that’s just great. But I still wish that he’d come up with some new idea’s. The grey child meowing and scaring it’s victims to death is more than well done. Reincarnation on the other hand does prove that he’s doing his best, like I said it gets off to a promising start; concentrating around the parallel realms of the movie in production and the actual murders thirty five years ago, Shimizu has Yûka find herself wandering in-between the two time spaces. There are some very effective and wonderful shifts of time which are very clear and don’t try to trick the viewer. As the rather interesting plot starts to unravel it’s self it’s clear that the Professor’s murders all where part of a macabre experiment to re-unite all the victims many years later when they have been reincarnated as other people, yes you guessed it, the cast and crew of Matsumara’s movie. And when this becomes clear, the movie just goes flat. Shimizu gives no explanation to why or how, it’s just the way it is. Ok it’s a horror movie, and being a Japanese horror movie I should be accustomed to the fact that anything can happen and I’ll probably never get an explanation, but Shimizu is one of those guys up there with Miike, Kurosawa and Nakata, so I was expecting a better payoff than the one presented, and the asylum ending just annoyed me even more. So therefore I feel that he lost the ending, but up to that point I was entertained and very eager to find out what the hell was going on.

Reincarnation
is so far the strongest of the so called J-Horror Theatre series created to bring the horror of the east to the west (something that I thought already had happened some ten year ago with the first wave of J-horror movies on import!), Masayuki Ochiai’s Infection and Norio Tsuruta’s Premonition, both 2004, are the two movies which predated Shimizu’s Reincarnation, and the fourth part, Retribution, to be directed by Kyoshi Kurosawa (who has a cameo in this one as a college teacher) is the one that I’ll be looking forward to the most.


Image:
16x9 widescreen

Audio:
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, English subtitles


Extras:

This version that I watched was a copy I got from a friend so it unfortunately had no extras at all.

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