DVD Review: Marebito
Director Takashi ShimizuRated R
After directing and redirecting the same film for the last few years Director Takashi Shimizu spent a little time in between various Ju-on and Grudge sequels to tell a quiet but disturbing film about a man who seeks out terror. In Marebito, Masuoka (Shinya Tsukamoto), is a camera man who apparently freelances to news stations and film crews all over the city and in his spare time wanders the streets filming things looking for something that will interest or terrify him. At the start of the film he tells us he sees truth through the viewfinder of his camera. While shooting for a documentary he happens across a man committing suicide in a subway station. While reviewing the video Masuoka sees a terror in the mans eyes that he wants to feel himself and soon the desire consumes him and sends him back to the subway. After some exploring he finds himself in a subterranean world left behind after WWII. Along his journey he’s warned not only by a homeless man to leave but also the ghost of the man who he recorded killing himself just a few days before.
Despite this Masuoka continues till he finds a deep underground cavern and in it a mysterious woman who has been chained down and stripped naked. Feeling he has found a underground dweller he takes her home and proceeds to take care of her much like a pet. However he soon finds out that she thirsts for much more than he’s anticipated and begins killing to bring her the blood she needs to survive sending him farther and farther away from his sanity.
With this film Shimizu has proven that he’s not just a one trick pony. For the last several years He has been making and remaking his wildly popular Ju-on Films including its American counterpart, The Grudge. In fact Shimizu is currently filming the sequel to the American version in Japan. Marebito is a slow burn of a film that makes the viewer question what reality is by successfully switching between Masuoka’s handheld video and 35 mm film providing us with tantalizing glimpses of the main characters loosening grip on reality. Shimizu flips between the two visions seamlessly and makes it work, a task that many others have tried to do and failed miserably. The relationship between Masuoka and the woman he finds is presented here much like a man who feels sorry for a lost animal and takes it in. He tries his best to take care of her needs but in his obsession to satisfy her he begins taking the lives of people women on the street and bleeding them dry. It almost seems suggested that this woman has some power over Masuoka but this is not explored.
The biggest flaws with this movie will be the unanswered questions it will leave you with. While this no doubt was intentional it still may annoy the hell out of some viewers. More information regarding Masuoka is suggested but never fully explored or answered. On top of that Masuoka receives a few phone calls from someone who presumably is also an underground dweller. This is suggested further by the appearance of a tall man in a black coat in hat several times throughout the picture but again never explained. The physical appearance of the woman is one of beauty. We’re made to assume this woman is more animal than human and has been living in an underground world her entire life yet she has very shiny and well kept hair and a stunning body! Even with all the questions this film will no doubt stick with you after it ends. By the way this is all in Japanese with subtitles so if you don’t like to read then move along.
3 ½ out of 5 bloody axes.