JU-ON director Takashi Shimizu's slight but chillingly eerie horror tale could almost be a Twilight Zone episode, were it not for the naked feral girl with the razor-sharp teeth. Freelance videographer Takuyoshi Masuoka (filmmaker Shinya Tskuamoto) is an obsessed man who is drawn to the morbid like a moth to a flame. He spies on the unhappy, haunted and desperate people who stray into his camera's viewfinder, and has filled his small apartment with monitors so he can examine spectral shadows, smudgy oddities and screaming eyes. But even in this haunted company, Masuoka's tape of Arei Furoki (Kazuhiro Nakahara) stands out: He caught Furoki committing suicide in a Tokyo subway corridor by jamming a knife into his own eye. Masuoka's obsession narrows to what Furoki saw that drove him mad; he stops taking his Prozac and makes a beeline for the corridor where Furoki died. He finds a metal door that leads to a stairway that stretches deep underground, first into the tunnels beneath Tokyo's subway system and then still deeper, into an ancient warren of passageways that stretch far beneath the earth. He meets Furoki there, as well as a homeless derelict who warns that the underworld teems with deros — "detrimental robots" — that terrorize both the netherworld and the surface. He presses on, finding vast ruins, rock formations and grottos, one of which houses a nude girl chained by the ankle. He rescues her and takes her home, but she refuses to eat or drink or speak. He dubs her F. and thinks of her as his "own little Kaspar Hauser." He buys a remote monitor so he can watch her while he's away; F. scuttles on all fours and sometimes seems to be listening to someone he can't see. Masuoka drifts further and further away from ordinary life, ignoring the haggard woman who shadows him on the street — screaming that she knows he's got her daughter, Fuyumi — and the ominous phone messages that warn the girl will die if he doesn't return her. Shimizu's dreamy, elliptical little terror poem weaves tantalizing scraps of folklore and allusions to H.P. Lovecraft (Masuoka finds At the Mountains of Madness underground) and the less familiar work of writer and painter Richard S. Shaver, whose sci-fi stories about a hollow Earth teeming with creatures (including deros) apparently reflected his own madness. Shot on digital video as murky as Masuoka's imagination, its creeping sense of dank dread is as slow to build as it is hard to shake.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: R
- Review: JU-ON director Takashi Shimizu's slight but chillingly eerie horror tale could almost be a Twilight Zone episode, were it not for the naked feral girl with the razor-sharp teeth. Freelance videographer Takuyoshi Masuoka (filmmaker Shinya Tskuamoto) is an o… (more)