Japanese Horror Films   April 21st, 2010

Originally Written 08/23/03

Watched Dark Water last night. It’s a VCD I got from a friend in Singapore awhile ago and had been meaning to watch it. It was directed by the guy who also did Ringu, which was later made into the domestic release, The Ring.

I can’t remember a lot about watching Ringu a few years ago, but from what I remember I liked the mood and atmosphere and the story, but did not find it all that scary. Creepy yes, but scary no. But my friends Steve and Yuan, both of whom are Chinese, found it more frightening than I did. So I wonder if it’s a cultural thing. From what I can remember comparing the two films, the American version was more scary and effective, but not as cerebral as the Japanese one. Cerebral is not quite the right word, but I found it more metaphorical andy lyrical.

The same thing could be said for Dark Water. It had a nice mood and atmosphere to it, and there were some creepy moments, but I was never really scared. I did like the idea and theme of the story though, and while the ending was anticlimactic, it gave some good closure and explained the characters motives. And while the film dealt with universal concepts: a lost child, mother-daughter bonds, sacrifice and protection, it felt more Eastern than typical American films. I guess that’s what I find interesting about it, where it shows the difference between the cultural mindsets and narrative styles.

I’ve also heard about this film, Audition, which I have mixed feelings about. The narrative sounds very clever how it twists perceptions to turn it into a psychological thriller, but it sounds like it might be more extreme a film than I’d want to stomach.

Update 04/20/10

Dark Water, the American version is probably my favorite remake of the Japanese films. It captured the creepy mood and atmosphere of dread from the original and gave it some powerful drama.

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