“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.
Directed by: Horie Kei
Viewing Format: Import VCD (bundled with “Shibuya Kaidan 2 ” on Ebay)
(Originally published on HorrorWatch)