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May 10, 2007



Shunichi Nagasaki - 1999
Adness Region 1 DVD

Sometimes I see films and feel like I have nothing of substance to say about them. There are also those films that may not warrent more than a few words, such as this Japanese horror film. Shikoku is closer in spirit, pun intended, to such films as Village of Eight Gravestones from 1977, depending primarily on mood and suggestion, with no graphic violence. The two films have somewhat similar premises of a person returning to a remote village where they discover an ancient curse. In the more recent film, a young woman returns from Tokyo to the island village to take care of some family business. She also discovers that her best friend, who she accidentally discovered to work as a child medium, drowned about ten year previously under mysterious circumstances.

Shikoku was the first major screen appearance by Chiaki Kuriyama, the actress best known for as the yo-yo wielding schoolgirl in Kill Bill, Vol. 1. That may be reason enough for some to want to see this film. Unlike most recent Japanese horror films, Shikoku is played resolutely without any humor. A little bit of philosophy is tucked into this story of ghosts, animism and Buddhism. While the basic premise of the film is inspired by the actual island, there seemed to be little interest by the filmmakers in exploring that location. What is nice about Shikoku is that it is a reminder that one can still make a horror film that does not rely on violence or gore.

Posted by peter at May 10, 2007 11:05 PM