After the death of her cousin Tomoko, reporter Reiko hears stories of a videotape that kills everyone who sees it exactly one week after viewing. At first she discounts the rumours, but when she learns that Tomoko’s friend (who watched the video with her) died at exactly the same time, she begins to investigate. After viewing the tape herself, strange things start happening and so she teams up with her ex-husband to try to stop the death clock that has once again begun ticking.
1998 – Certificate: 15 – Japanese film
6.0 out of 10
Despite being an antisocial loser and having no friends, I recently found myself in possession of a birthday party invitation. Stress! For a start, how does one present one’s self for such a social gathering these days? Formal? Casual but smart? Street smart? Metrosexual urbanite? And as for presents; that’s a total, social minefield. Still, not wanting to waste this once-in-ten-year opportunity to ‘have-a-good-time’ and ‘meet people’, last Saturday found me sitting in the sun in a garden in west London, twerking to ska-punk and reminiscing how when I was 13 I used to know be able to identify every car on the road and every plane in the sky; (a party animal, I know). I also learnt loads about what it’s like to control one of those massive cranes that you see on building sites; met a really famous drummer, (I think it was either Charlie Watts or Tré Cool, but I’m not sure now); knocked a can of cider on the kitchen floor and starred somewhat dumbly at the mess as someone else cleaned it up; drunk an inappropriate mixture of drinks that included cider, port, Buckfast, Midori, vodka and some Lithuanian spirit that tasted a lot like medicine; had a long conversation about Syria; ate some peanuts and samosas, (which were very nice) and talked to someone who’s getting married in six weeks. I probably bored a lot of other people too, but I can’t actually remember much else, but I imagine I wasn’t very interesting or coherent and spoke mostly drunkanise. Finally I left and forgetting that when I’d learnt which way to turn to take me to the train station (which was a two-minute walk away) I’d had the map upside-down, went totally the other way, took two buses and ended up wandering around the empty corridors of Heathrow Airport all night, like an extra from a zombie apocalypse film, before finally getting an entirely empty coach back to Reading at five in the morning; (well it had a driver in it, and me, obviously). I don’t suppose I’ll get another invite to a party anytime soon, but I was glad to have this opportunity to reconfirm that I have no social skills and really shouldn’t drink more than a pint of shandy. And it took me over two days to recover too. Frightening stuff.
This film has a fearsome reputation for being really, really scary. It’s not really. Well a couple of times it was but mostly it wasn’t. It’s more creepy than anything else. The anticipation that something was about to be scary was often more scary than what actually happened; a bit like crossing a busy road. I suppose if you get off on a certain kind of Japanese ghost horror then you’d be more likely to have an underwear malfunction, but not otherwise. The plot’s got something to do with a cursed video and a woman in a well. In many ways it’s as much a whodunit thriller as a horror. If a similar sort of thing happened today, it would end up on YouTube and probably wipe out most of the Earth’s population. Given its video-based story, it hasn’t aged well. Having said all that, it’s actually quite watchable. I guess I just found it a bit of a disappointment after all the hype.
There isn’t a great deal of music in this movie and what there is sounded like it came straight off of “Now That’s What I Call Horror Film Music, Volume 34”. The theme tune (used at the end of the film and on the trailer) is pretty horrific, but not it a good way.
Recommended for vindictive ghosts, journalists and ex-husbands. It’s probably a real nightmare if you’re involved in the manufacture of videos or DVDs, etc; I can imagine something like this would really take the bottom out of the market.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I just can’t think of one. Had too much to drink at the party.