Marebito (2004)

Posted: January 10, 2015 in Movie Review
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Directed By: Takashi Shimizu

Starring: Shinya Tsukamoto, Tomomi Miyashita, Kazuhiro Nakahara

Synopsis: A cameraman becomes obsessed with fear, leading him to an otherworldly discovery beneath the streets of Tokyo.

Thoughts: Japanese and Asian horror was everywhere in the early 21st Century thanks to the American remakes of Ringu and Ju-On (The Ring and The Grudge). These remakes led me on a long journey discovering all that J-horror had to offer, as well as many other countries. While the genre is dominated by ghosts with long black hair and curses, you can find other hidden gems, such as Marebito.

Marebito is directed by Takashi Shimizu, who just happens to be the creative juggernaut behind Ju-On as well as the American remake, The Grudge. He really shows that he is not a one trick pony with this storyline, which is more in line with H.P. Lovecraft than traditional Asian horror. Shimizu has fared equally well in both Japanese cinema and American cinema, a feat not easily accomplished. Shimizu is one of my favorite genre directors as both Ju-On and Marebito are a couple of my favorite horror movies. I am always excited to see a project that Shimizu is involved with.

One of my favorite aspects of Marebito is that it is so open to interpretation. You can take the movie at its face value and believe that Masuoka has stumbled upon a magical world and rescued a vampire like creature, or you can believe that he is insane, imagining fantastical happenings while holding his daughter captive. There are strong indications to both, so I’m not sure either view is incorrect. My opinion sways throughout the movie and changes with each viewing, which is indicative of the movies genius.

I highly recommend this movie, but it is really one you want to pay attention to while watching it. Absorb all the details and determine for yourself what is happening. It’s not your typical Asian fare, which makes it a favorite of mine.


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