All Reviews, Horror, International Films, Japan

Shibuya Kaidan

“Shibuya Kaidan” is a new direct-to-video series being heralded as the new terror-fest coming out of Japan but, after watching it…well, frankly, I don’t get it. Well, I get it; I just don’t understand why it’s so popular. The plot revolves around a group of teens who, after meeting each other at a “matchmaking camp” begin to hear a baby crying. It’s not too long before they start dying off. Yep…it’s another “curse from a wronged ghost” flick.

What could have been interesting winds up feeling forced and hokey. There are a couple of original moments, but they can’t save the film from turning into yet another “Ringu” rip off (It even manages to steal a well-known scene from “Dark Water.”).

There were more than a few “scary” moments that I either chuckled at or rolled my eyes at their familiarity. Even the patented herky-jerky ghost movements don’t work (and before this, they always sent a chill up my spine). And why is it every time someone sees something remotely out of place, they fall down backward in terror? It got old after the first 4 or 5 times.

I hate to turn in a review this brief, but there’s not much else to say. With the exception of one or two moments, it’s completely uninspired. It’s a Japanese horror flick that (based on the current buzz surrounding it) may actually benefit from its eventual Hollywood treatment. Until then, you’re not missing much by watching something else.

Pros: One interesting kill.
Cons: Pretty obvious “Ringu” rip off. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with a well, it’s much…um…oh hell, it’s actually pretty funny in a “Wha…?” kinda way.
Review Rating: 2 out of 5 women in a changing room don’t make it out alive.

Shibuya Kaidan” (2003)
Also known as: “Spirit of Vengeance”
71 Minutes; Japan
Not rated, but probably equivalent to a PG13 for terror and disturbing situations.

Starring:
Asami Mizukawa
Syuji Kashiwabara
Horikita Maki
Directed by: Horie Kei
Viewing Format: Import VCD (bundled with “Shibuya Kaidan 2 ” on Ebay)

(Originally published on HorrorWatch)

About John Daily

John is a freelance writer, columnist and critic. His work has appeared in print, as well as on sites such as ScifiWatch and HorrorWatch (where he wrote under the complete meaningless moniker “Bloody Taco”). An archive of his film-related material is available at cinemaspin.wordpress.com. Currently, he can be found spouting his special brand of sarcastic nonsense at CigarHell.com or Twitter (JohnNDaily).

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