There’s nothing like a good horror movie, especially with the dark, rainy weather we’ve had this past week. Having exhausted American horror films (so many awesome ones), I decided to turn to Asia for a good scare. Holy shizzle these movies are creepy!
This week on I, Queue Genius: First, the end of the world is near Japanese style, then Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Cirque du Soleil and finally, I want to sleep with the lights on, please, mommy!
Kairo (Japan, 2001). Any horror filmed based on the possibility of the end of the world scares the shizzle out of me. Kairo is an apocalyptic film that digs into the idea of what if than on an actual reality of Armegeddon through say war or the environment. Instead of giving you gore, blood and a storyline so absurd it’s funny, Kairo, like most of its Asian counterparts hovers over far creepier symbols, images and ideas. The American version, Pulse, I thought succeeded because it didn’t stray too far from the original Japanese horror flick, by aiming to mentally scare you and not fill the screen with lame scenes of murder. But there’s no doubt that the Japanese original surpasses its remake by providing even more goosebump-inducing material. Kairo is not completely logical, nor does it wrap up nicely, and honestly it’s not all that much of a “this could happen” movie, but it gets so deep under your skin that sleeping at night with the lights off will probably be the last thing you’ll want to do. If you’ve ever been lonely, if you’re afraid of heights or the dark, if the internet scares you, if you believe in spirits, if flying is not your bag, if your apartment looks like its about to fall apart, well, Kairo is going to make you wish you were watching the very comedic A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 6 instead.
IQG, I want to see all the originals since you won’t shut up about how much better they are. Try Ringu (Japan, 1998), Ju-on (Japan, 2000) and The Eye (Hong Kong, 2002).
3 Extremes (Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, 2004). KAPOW! 3 Extremes is like a one-sitting creep-fest for all lovers of thrillers, horror, Asian and art house film! Featuring 3 short films by 3 of today’s best Asian directors, 3 Extremes allows you and your gnat-like attention span to really sink your teeth into the movie’s 3 storylines, characters and way different ways of giving you the heebie-jeebs, 3 times! The best part about it though is that if the first one doesn’t make you cry for mommy, the second one might, and the third definitely will. Movie dorks (achem) will seriously appreciate the chance to see 3 completely different styles of moviemaking. One is very blockbustery, gory and ridiculous like Saw, the other is sort of weird, arty and Twin Peakish, while the final of the trio (my personal favorite) is simply disturbing, think “something’s-in-my-Chinese-carry-out.”
IQG, I like a good weird gross-out Asian film. Try Audition (South Korea and Japan, 1999), Gozu (Japan, 2003), and Oldboy (South Korea, 2003)
R-Point ( South Korea). Oh my God, dude, seriously turn on the lights like right NOW!! I just saw this movie two nights ago and I woke up at 3 a.m. with dream-induced night sweats and asking God for forgiveness. R-Point is the story of a Korean platoon sent to Vietnam to rescue a squadron of their own soldiers who had gone missing in an island known as Romeo Point. Seriously, I’m getting the jeebs as I write this. Now, you learn quickly that something is mad weird about the island, but you don’t expect it to be as mad weird as it actually becomes. And just when you think you might’ve figured it out, you intelligent movie-goer you, it takes an unexpected twist that turns your world all mad scary and stuff. And because this film is from Asia, and Asian horror flicks aren’t usually in-your-face, you never quite learn what the truth is of the events unfolding…until perhaps the very end. Even then you’re too worried about sh*tting yourself to want to recall the earlier scenes. R-Point’s soundtrack too is decidedly creepy. Of the three movies reviewed today, I recommend you move this one to the top of you queue! Yowzah!
IQG, Ghosts, darkness, creepy Asian figures, mysteries, I love it all! Try, Phone (South Korea, 2002), The Ghost (South Korea, 2004) and Marebito (Japan, 2004).
Next week on I, Queue Genius, tadedeha suru kaku tsuite kai shinema sezu kiki houbun. Jamata!