Fuan no Tane (2013) Japanese Horror Film Review

Another ‘I watched a Japanese film’ entry.

This time it’s Fuan no Tane, a.k.a Pet Peeves, based on the anthology horror manga of the same name. In the manga the vignettes were apparently ‘based on true stories’ which in modern horror parlance means ‘I made it up but it’s set in a real world place’ – sort of like how the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ is based on real events – in so far as Texas is a real world place and cannibals exist.

I read the first volume of the manga and most, if not all, the threads of this film come from that. If you haven’t read it then it consists of urban myth stories lasting no more than three to seven pages in length and usually are more humourous than scary (which may be unintentional due to the overly simplistic design used for the ‘scary’ ghosts). For those expecting some ‘Tit-ilation’, as per the tradition of modern horror films having some gratuitous nudity to the point its a cliché, I have to disappoint you and tell you there is none (its more of a Western thing that rarely appears in East Asian cinema). So, to be clear to those expecting it, the bizarre story featured in the manga where a boy finds a demolished house with a pair of breasts growing out the wall, which he gropes being a little pervert, is not featured in this film. However some of the more memorable stories from the anthology are.

If you want explanations of where the ghosts come from, as is common in Western horror films, forget it. The Japanese prefer to exist in the present not reflect on the past in such matters usually. Of course there are exceptions to this but that is usually reserved for cases of cute ghost girls who were part of a tragic love triangle and died unexpectedly e.g. Shikoku (starring Kill Bill’s/ Battle Royale’s Chiaki Kuriyama in an early role) or the Fatal Frame film (which tags on the camera obscura at the end for no real reason having had nothing to do with it the previous 70 minutes). There is a half arsed ‘conspiracy’ hinted at towards the end but really it is unnecessary and convoluted. In fact there is quite a bit to mock in this film. Where it should probably have gone for a slightly irreverent tone it instead plays out earnestly and it’s hilarious but not in a good way.

So onto the film…

The film changes throughout the first part between a family who have moved into a new, but haunted, house and a student who begins dating his female coworker who apparently has a few ‘secrets’ *cough*occult magnets *cough*.

The first scene we are introduced to has 1970s level of SFX human eyeballs sliding on down the highway being crushed by ongoing traffic. Where are they going? What are they doing? Nothing really. This is one of the short stories depicted in its entirity…and apparently these same eyeballs also haunt a house, causing an old man to slip up, when not committing suicide on the highway. Or because the crew liked how cheap and reuseable this practical effect was unlike the CGI they used elsewhere.

A motorcyclist delivery man, who we later learn may or may not be named Seiji, discovers a guy stuck in a hedgerow and we only see half of him vertically as he begs for help. So of course being a good Samaritan Seiji helps pull him out. There is no other half and the half-ghost collapses on top of Seiji and makes him scream in the empty street. Except for a lone girl stood in the background wearing all white. (Clearly an Ayanami Rei reference). He’s a ghost. There are spooky people watching him. There are eyeballs that might have caused an accident. WOoooooooOOOOOOoooooohhhhh are you scared yet?

Guys, slightly drunk or just you classic movie jerks who rarely exist in real life, see an attractive woman walking ahead of them. They cat call to her and one runs up to speak to her face to face. She has an inhuman face – in this case a bale of straw. The Japanese love this kind of ‘looked human but, nope, it was a yurei/yokai. The anal eye one, shirime, always gets people’s attention although its more common to see the ‘blank’ face type, Noppera-bō, usually said to be Tanukis playing pranks.

A little boy wants to pee but between him and the downstairs toilet there’s a shadowy figure lurking in the low lit dark at the bottom of the stairs and it can hang from the ceiling too. In fairness this one is definitely based on children’s reality. There were a few others in this vein they could have easily done like a teenage boy leaving school and refusing to look at a wall because he knows it’s a giant monster face. But instead we get what seems like two stories, and a few loose ends, that suddenly become one in a omnishambles ending. So from here on out you even get time stamps in case you ever find a way to watch this film and want to skip to the good bits.

19.30 A clumsy waiter, soon to be a main character, encounters some ‘badass’ Japanese biker type guys who enter his restaurant and snarl at him. The Japanese are comical when trying to seem tough using foreign influences. Their Yanki bikers, teenager bike gangs based on an exaggerated image of 1950s American biker culture (similar to how Russian Stilyagi are an exagerated version of 1950s rock and roll youths) are a prime example of how they don’t quite ‘get’ what it is they’re aping so amalgamate it with some of their own culture to create a strangely synergistically unique version that is all their own. These bikers serve no other purpose in the film which is a shame as they were far more charismatic than the main cast – and all they did was grunt.

There is a person sat in a dimly lit corner in a mac coat, wide-brimmed hat and a surgery mask. Waiter boy’s coworker, who is also soon going to be a main character soon, stops him serving the guy. She says don’t ever serve that person. (they caught the reflection of the film’s cameraman in this shot too).

The guy of course serves him! He has to! In order to tempt fate and actually give us something daunting to threat over. Well maybe not threat about as this guys a chump asking for death it seems. Or just to spite his coworker. She probably looks at any customer who isn’t bishonen, a J-Pop Idol or whatever passes for an attractive male in Japan and instantly declares ‘I’m not serving that person they’re a ghost!’ and thus is kind of crap at her job probably.

The mystery guy is a ghost with something under the mask… we don’t see what but at this budget level it is probably better to leave it to or imagination as the precedent of ‘human but with a non-human object face’ is giving me flash backs to Reeves and Mortimer in the 1990s.

The ghost follows him home. Well I mean come on he’s the only person whose going to serve him any food or drink. A bit like a stray cat or dog when you think about it.

It watches his apartment from across the street at night waiting beneath a telephone pole. In my head this scene could really take on a different tone with the right music.

Ultravox or something. Or this:

As FBI agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks might say “that’s a damn fine cup of water”. Enough to defy passing on for apparently. Quite a lonely ghost really and in the end it didn’t do much except stand outside.

The next section had faulty subtitles so if you read the Misa Kuroi reviews you know I just have to guess what the hell is happening… I did read the manga chapter this is based on but only half remember it.

The evil containing tea-pot: The guy gets invited to his former coworker-now-girlfreind’s appartment. They chat over tea. She asks if there is anything wrong. It’s as if someone or something, is hurting him. He denies it because he wants to seem all alpha male for her and assure progress from tea buddies to D in da PDA-buddies but she sees past his bluff, calls him a liar and becomes enraged. She’s a modern woman and can deal with a beta male for a partner. They kiss and sleep together. Either way ‘mission accomplished’ in his mind I guess…

Time apparently passes quite significantly during a single scene transition as he now suddenly notes, after 5 minutes of screen time together as a couple, that stress has built up between them daily. Sexual tension? Nope can’t be that – that notch is already carved in the bed post for him. Must be something else.

One night he explores her apartment – because that sort of invasion of privacy is always good in a relationship isn’t it? In a small cupboard he finds a grime covered old teapot. Someone who hides dirty kitchen ware instead of wash it – yup that’s early 20 something kind of behaviour – nothing suspicious here then. She appears behind him. Was she there the entire time? It reminds me of that woman who hid in a guy’s flat for years without him noticing.

Yeah she is definitely that kind of crazy – even though it’s her apartment. The teapot was an inherited item and the idea is you rid yourself of negativity by using it. She demonstrates by taking the lid off and shouting into it. She acts like this is normal and offers it to him so he can try. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all…

He notes how the grime has affected not only the teapot but also the surrounding surface. Very observant of him. Maybe he could just man up, get a wet cloth and wipe it down for goodness sakes rather than complain about it since it’s the twenty first century.

As he goes to touch it his arm becomes badly affected by low quality CGI veins and he pulls agonising faces. Me too – the acting is really corny. IMPOSSIBRU style facial contortion levels of acting. Like a constipated orange. She jokes around about it and scares him. And yet he can’t say no to her because… because… it must be true what they say about the skills of crazy people in the bedroom. Think with you head and run for the hills main guy! Or don’t as you don’t seem like the sort of guy who can chat up women easily. If this was an American film he would have a ‘comic relief’, or ‘so-cool-you-seriously-question-why-they-are-friends’ friend telling him she was out of his league. Well it’s a small town and he has no friends so he’s doomed. The urge to dry hump overpowers the brain in such cases.

33.38 The stalker ghost waits for him across the street from his apartment. night-time and daytime it doesn’t matter. He can’t leave his apartment. Again this scene needs its own soundtrack.

It is at this point I begin to confuse ‘met the half ghost’ delivery motorcycle guy from the start and the ‘I was a waiter but now I’m a shut-in hikikomori’ guys. I mean it’s not as if the characters are very distinct. So… yeah a case of ‘the main guy is also not the main guy because the main guy is someone else… but maybe he isn’t’. Even worse, both ride motorcycles so… yeah. Distinct characters. They have very similar haircuts too and have that overall indistinct ‘attractive guy’ look so… One dies at the and the other doesn’t.

‘Spoilers’ you cry. ‘Horror clichés’ I reply. No one is getting out of this experience untainted.

35.25 The theme tune of the movie plays. Was all of it so far just a set up? Hell even the James Bond ones don’t go over 15 minutes at most for their cold openers! Ghosts are drawn to the electrical charge of the overhead power lines. I know because I read the manga to know the context. To you, watching it without context, it’s cloth rags drawn to the static of the power lines as if they’re acting like a Van Der Graf generator. See you’ve learned some science in todays account so it’s not been completely pointless. Either way its some bad CGI again. For all their technological advances the Japanese don’t seem bothered by sub par CGI use. Maybe they use the logic ‘it’s meant to look unreal… bad CGI looks unreal… so case closed’.

We are back with the family from the start of the film. Power suddenly goes out across the town for no reason. The boy finds a flashlight for his family. He flashes it on and off and they joke about having a disco. This is meant to endear them to use despite us all knowing, from experience, what’s coming up next… Him being told to knock it off, disciplined and told treat the situation seriously? Nope. Of course not. He really deserved a slap to be honest. Kid or not this was an annoying sequence. I bet they didn’t have any candles or matches in the house either yet risked him breaking the torch for a bit of ‘look this is a loving family’ forced character dynamics.

He switches it on permanently and sees a disfigured ghost behind his parents and so of course drops the torch from shock. Because we all know if you can’t see it then it definitely can’t see you. White eyes. See, no one says it but these dead things all have severe cataracts in their eyes. Blind as bats one and all.

When the father puts it back on their mother has disappeared. A scream echoes through the house. They run towards her location only to find a discarded arm stump and hand. Something falls over. Coughing. A figure grabs the father and stabs him to death as his children watch terrified. Was it the mother? The torch is picked back up by the boy and he looks to his father, then the arm stump and finally the fresh corpse of his dead mother.

The boy is grabbed and his head held. He tells his sister to run. WOAH KID! It’s almost like you are going to be set up as a heroic protagonist we will be seeing more of later in the film as if this was someone’s back story but we just haven’t been told it is yet! She runs out of the house as his head seems to be crushed.

Oh maybe not then…

I will give it to the Japanese. They don’t generally shy away from killing children in horror films if it seems the logical conclusion to a scene.

Back with the couple we see the teapot is being thrown in the river. If it was that easy why didn’t she do it before? Well because she liked the outlet of contaminating the teapot with her negative emotions. Lucky for her it wasn’t over a hundred years old and became a tsukumogami… except it was a family heirloom so probably it could have been. I personally can’t wait for Fuan no Tane 2: Revenge of the Angry Teapot.

It was Yoko, the girlfriend’s, childhood being recounted everytime we saw this family you’ll be surprised to hear. That was actually a nice surprise as usually female characters can seem like window dressing in Japanese films. She is still depicted as a helpless victim so that’s not so good but baby steps.

Also note I finally learn their names at this point. Not intentionally but the subtitles finally got around to actually mentioning them. I think the subtitler also began to get confused between restaurant boy and delivery boy.

She tells her boyfriend they found the father’s corpse but not those of her mother or brother. Ever since then she has the ability to see ghosts etc. That’s how ESP and other occult powers work. Sort of like Spider-man except the spider just walked across his hand rather than intentionally bit him. A guy who will soon die she says i.e. Seiji the protagonist a.k.a the boyfriend she is speaking to or is it the shut-in? SHOCK! We get a flashback to the half corpse and she was the girl who was down the road watching him. I thought they had skimped on the budget for background extras after the restaurant scene but apparently this was intentional. Very Rei Ayanami of her then… He huddles up at home under a blanket. Him. The other guy. The one with a ghost stalker. You know who I mean.

46.00 The stalker ghost is gone from the street. Seiji notes a hand sticking up out of some nearby garbage on the street and hides away again. He considers it is probably a fake. He laughs. Ha ha ha yes all this stuff about a stalker ghost who has made you sit under your blanket for the past… however long the couple have been going out which must be over a month by now at least… Yeah it’s all just make-believe that someone has been stood outside your apartment waiting for you. He decides to go look at the rubbish bags and finds out it’s a mannequin’s hand. Ha ha ha. But UH OH a voice calls out that someone is touching her hand! He turns and sees a woman with a hideous face missing her hand and she starts hitting him with a hand axe or hammer… a piece of coal on a stick? He is hit over and over. Very slowly. Very very slowly. Incredibly slowly. Without any ‘striking’ sound effect as he cries. Obviously there was no budget for a foley artist. He goes home. That… that was rather non-commital for a sudden assault. It reminded me of the following:

Seriously…

50.00 – the ‘funny face’ symbol, which looks like a melted plug socket, recurs on someones door as a badge. I remember this face from the manga and it was one of the stupidest stories that went nowhere yet seemed a favourite of the author. The owner flicks it away but it reappears. He ignores it. Heroes always ignore danger. I think this is motorcycle-deliver-man-who-saw-half-ghost’ guy. He has a motorcycle so let’s just assume it is. He has a leather jacket. He’s a protagonist. Let’s not discuss it any further.

Night time – his next door neighbour, an attractive lady, returns and washes. The water in the bath next to her bubbles and a ghost begins to rise. Freddy Kruger is that you? Oh, wait, no they’re just doing something similar. Next day the guy goes to investigate the noise outside and finds a police investigation and onlookers there. Did he seriously not hear anyone outside? I mean seriously? I know the Japanese have this cultural thing about being considerate of others but I think a load of the local goose-neckers and old women housewife gossips wouldn’t be that considerate. Yoko appears and expositions about… stuff. Not important stuff. Just ‘there be ghosts’ vagueness. Honestly you won’t figure anything out from what she says. The subtext is ‘I’m a mysterious girl with connections to the supernatural’… which we already know Miss ‘Shouts-In-Teapots’.

The guy blames the badge symbol. Good call although would you really lead to that conclusion if you were in his position? Someones been murdered? Can you imagine Columbo, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Porfiry Petrovich, Erast Petrovich Fandorin, Kogoro Akechi, Kindaichi Kosuke, Tintin, [insert the names of any other detectives you know] to reach such a conclusion?

53.40 Seiji survived the light pummeling though he now has a bloody bandage on his head. So either he under-reacted, over-reacted or had a delayed response and should have some brain swelling at this point and already be dead. The film ignores this more interesting possibilities and its a case of ‘he’s got a boo-boo on his bonce’ here. Yoko had been taking care of him. So she’s having it off with both guys. Well she is ‘supernaturally’ aligned and so its a given she is a bit of a ‘lady of the night’ morally. Deny it. Tell me there is a group of mythologies where women are not depicted as tempresses. You can’t, I bet.

Maybe this guy isn’t Seiji. I don’t care as mentioned earlier. He panics and she tries to calm him. She admits the town is… but doesn’t finish what she is saying. She tries to comfort him then flies into a rage telling him maybe he should just leave. she tells him the town is saying die die die die die! Bunny boiling alert! She then kicks him, an injured man, and tells him to go die and leaves. The Japanese view of women… The guy decides he needs to leave and can’t do as Yoko asked. Defying the order to die… um, good for you? Stand up for yourself Mr MGTOW! Oh well we got this far without the awkwardness of japanese narrative logic creating out of character moments just to justify plot developments so let’s just ignore this scene. She didn’t turn into a massive malformed demon so clearly it wasn’t an RPG boss fight he needed to complete in order to progress the story.

56.00 – Now the stalker ghost and hammer ghost girl both wait in the street together and Yoko walks past his apartment glancing up at it. What song fits this scene? It’s hard to say…

I mean… I assume they grew up in the town.

56.40 – Guy returns to his apartment and the face symbol is there again. He peels it off and puts it on next door’s or it magically attached when he flicks it. Very heroic to let yet another person fall victim to it when he knows the consequences. Next morning there is another crime scene and Yoko. The guy must be a deep sleeper and his alarm clock has a radio that plays at full blast as he does his morning routine. That’s the only explanation. A suicide by hanging this time. She tells him to ‘leave that evil thing alone. wherever the symbol is stuck it’ll certainly … bring their end’. Thanks Miss Exposition but you’re a few scenes too late.

56.56 – Another little boy protagonist who is talking to his family writing and drawing about a scary faced ghost he can see called Ochanan. It’s a stupid face. in the manga it feels more like a joke story but here they try to make out there’s some weird conspiracy about it. Seriously it doesn’t get explained and as far as I know there is no sequel so it seems very stupid to base the main storyline around this gag story in what is, I assume, meant to be a seriously toned film. It’s very weird and it would freak you out but not in a way that you wouldn’t instantly just kick it in the face for invading your privacy. An adult shows another adult a photo of the boy with the ghost in a window behind him.

Are you scared yet? No? Shock! Have some respect! I mean it’s not as if at this point I was myself seriously considering having a nap since nothing interesting has been happening during the sedate pacing of the film…

Guy looks at his next door’s front door and gets on his motorbike. Yes you just allowed someone to die for no good reason because you are too cool to risk seeming paranoid by saying ‘hey, someone died here so… you know… maybe consider moving?’ Cool guys let people die. Especially when they could be riding about on a motorcycle instead.

1.01.00 – The coworker guy is still stuck in his flat mumbling to himself. Someone approaches the building. Footsteps can be heard. Tension builds and it’s Yoko. Isn’t that more scary? I mean between a girl who kicks him and tells him to go die versus a ghost who stands under s street light at night I would go with the less immediate threat personally. She tells him to hurry and hide. He looks out the window. The ghosts are not there. No they have common sense unlike you.

1.04.20 – Seiji a.k.a. biker-boy is on his motorcycle recalling Yoko’s words. He decides to live… Speeds up… The sun glares blinding him… He hurtles into the same hedgerow he saw the ghost at. He is the new ‘Mr vertical sliceghost’… or maybe it was his own ghost he saw at the beginning but didn’t recognise. Trust me it make sense I offer this suggestion once you learn the ‘it was her family all along’ twist isn’t the only time related story twist of this film.

1.05.40 – Yoko’s coworker runs out his door and she slowly follows. She isn’t going to escape with him. She says she can’t leave the town. SHE’S A GHOST!?

Probably… or an ‘occult girl’ stereotype which is popular in Japan. I mean I’ve seen enough supernatural/occult related Japanese media to say that this sort of character is a stock figure for such tales and rarely gets given much of a background beyond the sort of ‘she’s a bad girl’ kind you get for female roles in 1950’s films. It’s like that bit in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows where the daughter suddenly turns out to be a werewolf and she tells her mother to ‘just deal with it’. Seriously, that scene was asinine… It’s the same deal with these ‘oh so cool’ occult girls in Japanese productions. You are not told much of their abilities so they just make them up as needed like a Silver age Superman or Batman with his utility belt. It doesn’t make for drama and your budget doesn’t allow for spectacle to distract us from this like some of the recent Marvel films do. If you don’t give people a reason to care for a character then they won’t. Especially one who seems to be dealing with the situation fine and is fully in control.

Yoko is just Misa Kuroi under an alias! If you rounded up all these generic Japanese occult girls from various series they would have an ‘I’m Spartacus’ scene – except in this case they really would be interchangeable. Long dark hair and pale skin are always essential. Monosyllabic communication is also often a common trait. Any dismissal of others is an added bonus for depicting such characters. After all they do know what is going on and the normal people freaking out, because a creature who defies all physics and just ate a few people after passing through a wall unhindered, is just being pathetic obviously.

Its been hinted throughout the film (poorly) she is something to do with the supernatural conspiracy of the town. She kissed the guy goodbye. It lasts a bit too long really. It’s a goodbye kiss… FOREVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRR

Seiji crashes and the badge flies through the air landing by some kids playing football in the street. They, being stupid kids who touch shiny things, pick it up and put it on the coworker’s motorcycle as Yoko watchs them do so while maintaining the kiss with the guy. Seiji didn’t crash as we suspected he would. He barely missed doing so and leaves safely riding past Yoko and the coworker who are still in the process of kissing…

Clearly it’s never mentioned but they have to have gills to have been kissing this long. They’re descended from the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Deep Ones, Mermaids (Ningyo for those wanting it to all be Japanese mythology… so she could be a Yaobikuni like figure in such a case and if so the whole time loop thing reminds me of the PS2 game Forbidden Siren) or any other such figure – take your pick of ‘people who don’t need to breathe the normal way’e.g. Quiet from Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.

1.08.30 They say farewell finally and he goes to ride off with the badge stuck to his motorbike. Can you see what’s coming? You don’t get a reward for guessing. She watches him head off. On the motorway he is muttering about how he can escape destiny/her/being the other guy/this film. He rides and there are some good static overhead shots in fairness to the cinematographer. Shame they arrived so late to the production as it might have at least been a visually interesting film otherwise. He thinks he made it. Of course he does. If he thought ‘I haven’t made it’ we wouldn’t be able to criticise him. Then he sees Ochanan boy hanging onto him and he crashes into the hedgerow. Wow what bad CGI on the boy’s face. It’s actually more hideous than if they had used any of the budget on better effects. The coworker is now like the vertically cut ghost from the earlier part of the film. Maybe he was the ghost from the earlier part. Who knows. All the guys in this film are interchangeable.

… wait did they have two versions explaining the ‘vertical ghost’ thing. I am not sure. Did I rewind the film a bit and watch the same sequence? I… what… it’s like there’s some sort of time warp… *cough*hint*cough*

1.11.15 A press conference of a well dressed man and woman shaking hands in front of a banner with the Ochanan face symbol on it. Either they are in government or business together it’s unclear. There is no explanation so this scene is completely random except to suggest some sort of ‘curse handed down by the region’s ruling samurai family. A side story which only now gets introduced (though I added suggestions to find a way they possibly tried hinting at it very poorly earlier in the film).

Seiji pulls up to the side of the road watching the sunset. He wonders about Yoko…. who then turns up. he realises he lived. She changed his fate then? They silently stand by each other watching the sunset over the steelworks of the town. This is romantic scene gold. He says there were no more stange incidents and he graduated university with Yoko. Umm… what? Seriously? What has this to do with anything?

A photo of the Ochanan writing boy, who I assumed to be Seiji in the past, is shown static on-screen. But no, in fact, Seiji married Yoko and this boy is their son. The boy was/is haunted by Ochanan.

So all this time the boy writing was ‘in the future’ of the main narrative. The family of Yoko, Seiji and the boy sit having dinner with Seiji’s father who is admiring the boy’s drawing of Ochanan. He tells Seiji when he was younger Seiji also saw the ghost. The grandfather says how there are two Ochanans. one whose eyes slant upwards is the one to be beware of. (In the manga they also mention the good one but that is skipped here which makes mention that this is ‘the bad one’ awkward as there is only the one version of it ever addressed).

The boy sees Ochanan in the slightly ajar futon cupboard behind his mother as fuzzy CGI. Terrifying… The lights go out. The boy finds the torch and gives it to Seiji. It goes on and off. Everyone has disappeared. Daiki is the boy’s name. Did we need to learn that at this late stage? No, not really. There is a crash and coworker is there in his half cut form and Seiji sees his dead father who, along with the coworker, begins crawling towards him. SHAKEY CAMERA TIME! Seiji gets a knife and stabs the ghost repeatedly. Seiji recovers and finds himself stood in Yoko’s old home having murdered her father and mother. He killed his in-laws (as many no doubt wish they could)! But that was the past and this is the future so.. so… so time is cyclical? He travelled back through time? Or did the kitchen scene and him overlap just for that brief moment in time thus creating the illusion of a ghost in both scenarios? It just throws up too many questions…

Its like the Forbidden Siren series on the PS2… except that made sense and justified the looping time frame.

1.19.54 Yoko and Daiki are safe but Seiji is missing. A voice begins singing the theme tune. Oh, are we going to have a big song and dance finale!? Yokai and yurei and everyone comes out to do a big parade song and dance to send the audience off? It’s a fox wedding in the rain?!

No… No we don’t. But don’t rain on my parade as it’s a better ending to what we got.

It’s a boy sat facing the wall. It’s Ochanan! So Ochanan is her brother’s ghost? I… how does that work? His face looks ridiculous. (Then who was the ghost that turned him into Ochanan? … Or was Ochanan possessing him and took his form?) Then one of the half corpses comes down from the ceiling for a jump scare.

Cut to black.

The eyes are sliding along the highway again and the song is still being sung. Time is a flat circle.

Ochanan’s symbol is seen on a road sign. It’s the region’s symbol I guess. Yoko and Daiki look over the highway and their faces are now straw bales. So she was the ‘sexy lady walking dow the road being harassed by drunks’ woman too then? So Daiki was always half yokai/yurei? Were stalker-ghost and hand-missing-hammer-girl ghost actually Yoko’s parents? The CGI is badly overlapped onto their faces considering this is the final shot of the film… then the film’s ending theme song of soft rock kicks in. Horror always ends with soft rock in Japan. It’s the ‘music of the devil’ for a conservative audience with delicate sensibilities.

… What.

What was that ending all about? A sequel hook?

My sentiment of this film’s existence and a possible explanation of what they were going for with the time looping twist which failed miserably. You cannot escape your fate – only delay it until time repeats itself.

The film tries to combine a few of the anthology manga’s ‘true stories’ and makes for a really awkward mess in the end. There’s no logic and I made an effort to make it credible but it’s ridiculous. If they played it for laughs I would enjoy it but it seems to be earnest in its narrative. I liked the manga as the brevity of each story meant if you didn’t like one then, within a few pages, there was a different one (albeit a few themes got repeated like ghosts haunting walls or Ochanan) to read. Here they make a muddled mess of a narrative starting off with one idea and then deciding they might as well throw as much in as they can.

Have you see the Goosebumps film? Or at least the trailer? Same thing applies here. Trying to do too much from the source material to appease a wide a demographic as possible and ultimately under serving everything. The various concepts they could have gone with, if they focused on just one or two with common themes, are shown in their most basic form instead of their potential being explored. The stories are, as urban myths, all a bit generic but there is nothing wrong with that as long as you make an effort for the experience to be enjoyable. Sadly they don’t here and probably relied on brand recognition of the Fuan no Tane name for those already familiar with it as an already existing audience. A lot of film making companies do that nowadays but it’s a sad pattern.

This film in conclusion… don’t watch it. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table and it’s either dull or underplays what it does deliver. I came for a fun time – I leave pessimistic. I hope you enjoyed my account of it. It was more fun than the film was.

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mrhearne

Poetry, theatre, literature, films, reviews and various other matters. Primarily Russian and Welsh subjects.

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