Friday, May 27, 2011

Film #65: Reincarnation (2005)

Weezer said it best:
“God damn you half-Japanese girls! You do it to me every time.”
Of course by "half-Japanese" they meant half-human, half demon-ghost. And by “do it to me every time” they meant cause full grown men like the RDHP to fetal curl in a pool of our own fear-liquid every time we see them in a movie.

Ah, J-horror and creepy Japanese girl-ghosts: you go together like depression and suicide.
As prophesied, those half-Japanese girls did it to us again in this week's mid-2000s flick, “Reincarnation.”

A movie director obsessed with a hotel massacre of 12 people decides to make a movie about the horrific event. Seems a college professor interested in reincarnation decided to hurry up the process on his own family, knifing them into sushi. Why stop there though, so he chop-chopped the rest of the hotel staff, and guests too, before cutting his own throat. And they died happily ever after... or did they?

When casting for the part, the director discovers an unknown actress who seems to have a mystical connection to the storyline. Something is just a little too familiar about the script and murders for the actress, and she starts to suspect she is the reincarnation of one of the victims.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, a school girl who has been having strange dreams about a red roofed hotel (no, not the Red Roof Inn) begins to have visions of a bloody child with a mega-creepy doll. “Together forever” the ghost girl chants. Chills in the audience ensue.

As the filming progresses, the spirits of those murdered start to get pissed. The exploitation of their suffering has the dead more riled up than a can of bees. Seems they are looking for revenge, and call upon their reincarnated selfs to possess their modern day body hosts and converge at the massacre site hotel to avenge their deaths.

Did that just confuse you? Yeah, okay, cool, because we thought it was just us.
But the confusion just leads to more terror in the 2005 Japanese horror hacker “Reincarnation.”

RDHP Ratings and Review
C-Rating: 4.0
Chris Dimick moshi-moshis:
“American horror may have been number one in the 30s, 40s and 50s. But by the 2000s, like most things, the Japanese were producing more efficient, better performing, and purchase worthy horror films. Sorry USA, but I’m exporting my interest to J-Horror’s superior products until you step back up. While American filmmakers were cranking out craptastic movies like "An American Haunting" and "The Fog remake" in 2005, the masters of horror at legendary production company TOHO was creating this gem of a spook tale – Reincarnation.

Yeah, the creepy long black hair haunted spook girl is getting a little cliché in J-horror, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Those girls are scary as shit! There is one of those little urchins in this film, but there is also well-paced suspense and a creep level that hits goosebump factor 10 (out of 10).

The Japanese seemed to have tapped into what scares folks in the 2000s better than US filmmakers. It’s not gore and serial killers that creeps out people anymore, USA. That is just so 70s. No, today the supernatural is what really scares. Well-filmed screens of creep outshine guts and glory blood fests. Some in American get this (the makers of Paranormal Activity; Altered; Shutter Island; Cloverfield get it). But many don’t (how many SAWs do we need?)

This film also packs a twist that doesn’t seem tacked on and trite. It is relevant and inline to the story… and actually surprised Nick and I with its cleverness.

The plot was somewhat confusing, hence the reduced marks, but that may have been a “lost in translation” thing seeing as Nick and I had trouble distinguishing two of the characters apart from one another. (They seriously looked exactly alike!)

Let me just say this. I got chills multiple times during this flick. Granted, some were from a very creeptastic doll (which is just cheating, movie). But still, the chills repeatedly bring delivered by J-horror makers will make me spend my attention on Japanese horror products... and least until the US stops pretending it is superior and actually produces horror products that match it’s big-junk talk.”

N-Rating: 4.0
Nick Rich moshi-moshis:
"It could be the sushi talking here, but in my book Reincarnation was just plain fresh (without that pesky fishy smell too!). Maybe it was the difference of Japanese culture, which brings with it a different perspective on life and naturally finds its way onto the screen, but there was something about this flick I found refreshing.

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised with a name like "Reincarnation", but this film felt like a new experience for me in the project. The entire time we were watching, there was a quiet stillness that just seemed to seep out of the film (which, upon reflection, reminds me of how I felt during Let The Right One In) which contrasted beautifully with the scare moments as they gently (and not so gently) surged forth from the story. As if this weren't a departure enough from our normal project horror vibe, I was also joined by my wife for the last half hour of the film (which always adds its own sense of abnormality to a viewing as it is such a rare occurrence).

Normally, when grading movies in the project I review all of my previous grades and try to determine where the film of the week figures into the grand scheme of things. It usually turns into a game of "was it better than (insert movie title)?" This week however, given the reprieve from the comfortably mundane weekly ritual the RDHP has taken in my life I was a bit at a loss when it came down to rating. Seeing as I agreed with Chris in his assertions about the quality of the film, I figured I could also come to terms with having the same rating as him. I must admit it feels a bit icky to agree with him, but I suppose it is bound to happen sometimes.

Regardless of my wife's opinion of the portion she saw (she thought it was lame... there really is no accounting for horror taste), I found Reincarnation to be a quietly compelling film that kept you engaged enough to harvest the chills from your spine as it wove its eerie tale; and really, what more can you ask of a horror flick?

The Skinny: Check this flick out if you somehow got it in your head that the likes of SAW and Friday the 13th (the remake) are what horror is all about... or if you want to feel racist for thinking the female cast members all look alike."

Things We Learned from Reincarnation:
-Japanese movie clapboards look like chop-sticks.
-All little Japanese girls are haunted. All of them.
-Life is a mixed bag of emotions.
-Nick forgets how tall Chris is sometimes.
-Even after all these years, TOHO’s still got it’s groove.
-In the 2000s, even broad daylight can’t keep people from getting haunted (or spooked).
-You can’t run away from the truth.
-Creepy dolls can get even creepier when missing an eye.
-‘Rut-roh’ is Chris’ favorite reaction to danger.
-Like infants, Japanese folks easily fall asleep in a moving car:

Quote of the Viewing:
[Our main character, whose name we can’t figure out, is handed the script for a film in which she will star in the leading role. She looks at the script in a confused manner.]
Nick: “Oh, how is she supposed to read that script?”
Chris: “I know! It is entirely in Japanese!”

Who is the scariest of them all? Let’s check out our hideous contestants, all vying for the title of creepiest little girl in the movie universe. You’ll see Japan is well represented. Still, we think the brats from those Toddlers and Tiara's competitions create more horror than these peeps ever could. First prize, ladies and fellas, is a house filled with easily killed teenagers!
Contestants, work what yo Mama and/or Demon gave ya!

Contestant #1
Samara – The Ring
Representing Hell, this little “beauty” is only half rotted, enjoys long swims in dark water, and is courteous enough to give you a week to prepare for death. Give it up for SAMARA!

Contestant #2
Kyra Collins – The Sixth Sense
A playmate fit for any date, lovely Kyra works it like a supermodel. And with all that puking, she'd fit right in with the girls of the runway. Yes, she wants to be Tyra! Hands together for sickly KYRA!

Contestant #3
Undead Gage – Pet Sematary
Giving credence to the old adage, leave dead enough alone, this little tot is back and dressed up in his finest funeral wear. Give a loud, blood-curdling scream for the fashionable GAGE!

Contestant #4
Malachi – Children of the Corn
Ladies note that this early-teen murderer’s carpet DOES match the drapes. Fire-haired, fire-crotched, and ready to light you Outlanders on fire, a round of applause for MALACHI!

Contestant #5
Potato-sack Head Boy – The Orphanage
We here at the Creepy Kiddie Beauty Pageant understand that it is not just what's on the outside, but what's inside that can make a person beautiful. Let's go with that crap for this contestant. This bag was placed for your protection... it is just a hot mess under there. Regardless, give it up for the pretty on the inside POTATO-SACK HEAD BOY!

Contestant #6
Grady Sisters – The Shining
Come and play with them indeed! You... love... football on TV, and, and GHOST TWINS! Double the fun, and beauty, comes with this perforated pair. Belt it out for the GRADY SISTERS!

Contestant #7
Toshio – The Grudge
He meows like a cat and loves to haunt naked. Just don’t let this party animal sneak between your legs while going down stairs. Put one hand onto the other for TOSHIO!

Contestant #8
Angela – Sleepaway Camp
Cut as a button and with a brain with as many holes, our little camp princess Angela is just full of surprises. Her beauty has you saying OMG, but her classic runway ending will have your screaming WTF! Let's hear it for ANGELA!

Contestant #9

Eli – Let The Right One In
And finally, this lovely androgynous blood sucker can charm the pants off the best of them. She loves night time dates, can suck a man dry in 30 seconds, and has no distinguishable genital. Truly any man’s dream. Root Root Root for our last contestant, the lovely ELI!

Announcer: "And the winner is... no, get back, all of you, GET BACK! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! (grugle, grugle)"

RDHP Salutes Japan!
A Cultural Journey

Our enemies turned freniemes are surely a curio to Americans. I mean, the Japanese and their ways are just so exotic and interesting. Nick, a Japan expert, helps the RDHP examine the non-horror pieces of their culture... Japan isn't just all long haired demon girls you know!

Dedication to Customer Service
In Japan, employees are very attentive to customers, even in dirt bags like McDonalds and 7-11. Thank you, come again... and I'll shower you with kisses and treat you like a king.

Love of Smoking
No, the whole country isn't having a Mad Men party. Japan just loves Johnny Tobacco! (It has the highest rate of smoking in the industrialized world.) You'd smoke too though if the threat of Godzilla loomed over each moment.

They're Clean Mofos!
These peeps take being clean seriously. SERIOUSLY. Who cares if some fear the Japanese race will become extinct within 100 years due to their germ-a-phobic ways? Crowded Subway riders across the country appreciate the chronic cleaning!

Speaking of Subway riders...
still have room to breath on that train car? We'll take care of that! There's pleeeenty of space left!

Ghosts are Just a Part of Life
The country has shrines to ghosts in various obvious places, some with food for the hungry Caspers. Finally a group of people who recognize what horror's been saying for centuries!

Love Them Some Robots!
Sometime they prefer them a little too much... if you know what I mean.

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