Shikoku (1999) Poster


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Eerie, sad and beautiful
Splatterdome-AMH7 March 2002
Teenage girl Hinako returns to her home village on the Japanese island of Shikoku (which she left for Tokyo with her parents when she was a little girl) for the first time. Back then, a girl named Sayori and a boy named Fumiya were her best friends. Now Hinako meets Fumiya again, but Sayori died when she was 16. Hinako soon discovers that strange things are going on. Sayori's mother, a priestess, wants to bring her daughter back from the dead. 88 temples circle the fog-shrouded island as a seal to protect its inhabitants from the dead. But by traversing the temples in reverse order for every year of a deceased person's life, the seals can be undone and the dead person will come back to life. And Sayori's mother is about to travel the temples for the 16th time...

Shikoku is the smallest of the four big Japanese islands (the others are Honshû, Kyûshû, and Hokkaidô). Written in Kanji, "Shikoku" means "island of the four lands", but the title of this film changes the first Kanji - you still read it "Shikoku", but now it means "island of the dead". This island is still a remote place far away from the great Japanese cities, there are large, fog-shrouded forests and mountains and it makes a great setting for an eerie ghost story. The film was released together with Hideo Nakata's "The Ring 2" and produced by the same company, Asmik-Ace Entertainment. Beautifully filmed and filled with atmosphere and some very spooky moments, this is a highly recommended modern "shinrei-mono" (ghost story).
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Great movie, not so much horror as mystery/romance/suspense
deevil11 February 2005
Really liked this movie, throughout it of course I was saying, "who is she? I've seen that actress before!" At the end of the movie, found out it was Go-Go Yubari from Kill Bill Vol. 1. This movie, like most Japanese horror movies was quite strange, but was also quite picturesque and well done. I kept expecting some sort of wild twist in the movie, but it never really came. There was a lot of guesswork as to who did what to whom, but the story was actually quite a bit simpler than that, and by the end, almost sweet. I highly recommend that you go to the foreign section of your video store and see if they have this movie. Although its quite old (1999) they may have the newly released DVD in stock. I can see why Chiaki Kuriyama has had so many film roles since this one, she definitely deserves it. (you can also find her in Ju-On, aka The Grudge, I believe she's the crazy girl in that one...)
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Good, creepy fun
Evan A. Baker18 August 2000
A spooky little movie that moves along at a good pace. Fine performances, not the most chilling thing ever, but eerie and enjoyable. A heavy reliance on hand-held shots makes everything seem very immediate. Oh, and the title is an interesting play on words.
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Fascinating, Creepy Story
Clio Sidonie16 August 2005
I'll be the first to point out that if you're a fan of the 'Ju On' series of films or something similar, you may find this a disappointment. It has a few creepy moments but overall it moves a steady, gentle pace to allow for the story to unfold. The 3 main characters at the foreground of this movie (Sayori, Hinako, and Fumiya) are each quite intriguing and flawed. But i'd have to say the character of Sayori is the most developed and faceted while the other 2 merely support her and the plot.

Now this was not a complaint of mine but of the boyfriend that watched this picture with me. So this may bother other would-be viewers. It is mostly shot with what seems to be a hand-held camera so it will wobble and shake. (Please correct me on this as I am unfamiliar with the many cameras and styles of shooting.) In specific moments of the movie, it seemed to add to the suspense. I thought they did a fair job of setting the mood as well. There were just a couple of times where say background music that had been edited in seemed to loud or didn't quite settle in with the flow of events. Particularly during some personal exchanges between Hinako and Fumiya.

The basic premise of this movie is set around Hinako, whom moved away from Shikoku as a little girl and has returned to take care of family business. She left behind 2 childhood friends, Sayori and Fumiya, that she was hoping to see again as well. Unfortunately she finds out that Sayori died when she was in high school and her mother, the local priestess lost her mind and has been on this pilgrimage for the past 8 years to visit the 88 temples on the island. Naturally strange things begin to happen once Hinako has started to settle in. She and Fumiya together start to investigate. Much to their horror, they find out that this pilgrimage Sayori's mother has been doing is apart of a ritual which would turn the island into the land of the dead!
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Shinto priestess resurrecting her daughter
Atavisten26 May 2005
This has an interesting story based on the shinto-religion. The island Shikoku has 88 temples and every year the priest go to each one of them in a certain order to make sure the people will prosper the following year (or similar), one priestess who lost her daughter walks the route the opposite way the same number that her daughter was old in order to resurrect her.

It begins very creepy when a woman returns from the city to visit her childhood village. It then turns into a mystery investigation delivering something else than what was promised. Recommended for horror fans.
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A real delight for those tried of Ring knock offs
crueltwistoffate25 May 2005
There are many Ring knocks off around and I bet there are even more in Asia I bet. But I got along to watching this flick without knowing nothing about it but I feared what it might be. So I put it on and from the opening I knew this film was different. It was more than a horror movie, it's more a classic ghost story and drama about 3 people. It's a weird mix because a lot of the film is about faith and the question of "when you die do your feelings die too?" So through out the film, it plays out more standard, there are no BOO scares, and limited killing. This isn't about a killing ghost it's about a ghost that still wants to live and a mother who won't let go. You can't help but to be dragged into the film and care about the characters because you understand them and why they are they way they are. Warning: If you one those moderen Hollywood horror movie fans than this movie isn't for you. But if you want something new than watch this film.
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Not as advertised
bensonmum220 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
  • I had been intrigued by Shikoku for a while. The plot sounded interesting and the movie featured Chiaki Kuriyama (Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill Vol. 1), so I finally decided to give it a chance. The summary on the back of the DVD case ("Hinako returns to her childhood home on the island of Shikoku after many years. She learns that her childhood friend Sayori has passed away and the Sayori's mother, a local priestess, has slowly gone insane with grief. When strange things begin to happen on the island, Hinako and old friend Funiya learn that Sayori's mother has spent ears conducting a pilgrimage around each of the island's 88 temples in reverse order, which, according to folklore, is supposed to release the spirits of the dead and turn the island into the 'land of the dead'"), however, is very misleading.

  • Had the movie actually followed this plot description, Shikoku might have been a much better movie. Instead, we are treated to one of the dullest, most inane love stories I've had the misfortune to see (I suppose a love-triangle story would be a more appropriate description). What little horror there is in Shikoku comes from the fact that one of the participants in the love-triangle is dead. But, any real scenes of horror are too few and far between. And the other characters' reactions to the moments of horror are totally unbelievable. Once the two non-dead characters see the ghost of their dead friend, do they seem alarmed, surprised, or frightened? - NO! Based on their reactions you would think that seeing ghosts was just another part of their incredibly boring existence.

  • I will admit, however, that there are parts of Shikoku that I enjoyed. Regardless of whether you're a fan of the new wave of Asian horror or not, it would be hard for anyone to disagree with how beautiful most of these movies are. Despite it's flaws, Shikoku is another beautiful Asian horror movie. And if you're a fan of Ju-on style horror, some of the movie might appeal to you. The few subtle moments of horror are beautifully filmed and genuinely creepy. Finally, although it's underdeveloped, the whole subplot of the mother trying to bring her dead daughter back to life is interesting. There's a good, entertaining movie here somewhere. It's too bad we didn't see it.
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not scary but a good drama
kungfucowboy8312 January 2006
i just finished this movie and really enjoyed it. i have never been a fan of American horror movies, however the latest batch of of horror movies from Asia such as the eye, phone, a tale of two sisters etc. have been great.

if you want a scary movie do not get Shikoku go watch phone or something else, this movie was a good drama dealing with the death of loved ones, and tragic love the supernatural aspects of this movie were mearly a back ground to provided loss and broken dreams. In my opinion this movie and the eye are not horror but Dramas with supernatural aspects
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Diana15 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Feh. This movie started out in an interesting manner, but quickly ran the gamut from confusing to dull. The confusing parts happened mostly at the beginning, where the cut scenes are so numerous that its hard to tell just what is going on for the first twenty minutes or so. The dull comes later, with a tepid romance between the two living people(pusses both). The vengeful spirit of the dead girl is actually the most lively person in the film, which is sad. If the rest of the cast had been up to her caliber, the movie might have been better.

Maybe. Because the storyline gets really interesting for awhile, as it appears that the insane priestess mother of the dead sixteen year old girl is trying to resurrect her daughter from the dead, with the decidedly unfortunate side effect that all of the other dead people would come back as well, take on solid human form, and most likely start killing off everybody. A sort of Japanese mystical Night of the Living Dead type thing. But this doesn't come to pass. Even though this hairy unwashed priest with a tiny basket strapped to his head tells the uninteresting young people that this will come to pass if the priestess finishes her ritual, she does just that and the only dead person who manifests is her daughter. No mass rising of the dead, no walking army of corpses, nothing. The priest merely makes the girl's spirit go back to the land of the dead, taking the washed out wuss of a boyfriend with her, as she'd crushed his spine like peanut brittle(at which point I was tempted to cheer loudly, as this idiot went over to kiss and fondle the DEAD girl,,ewwww!!!). The Robitussen sucking, spineless best friend has a long introspective shot at the end as she leaves the village for the last time, and that's it. No real horror, no real creepiness, which the Japanese tend to do far better than American film makers with their emphasis on over-the-top cheesy face make-up, no screaming mimis. I was very disappointed.
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Where is the horror?
mindless_junk26 January 2003
I must say that I am fairly disappointed by this "horror" movie. I did not get scared even once while watching it. It also is not very suspenseful either.... I was able to guess the ending half way through the movie... So.. what's left?

"The Ring" is a trully scary movie... I wish other movies would stop copying from it (e.g. the trade-mark: long hair). Please give me some originality.

Will not recommend this movie.
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ThrownMuse12 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
As a girl, Hinako moved away from her small village to Tokyo, leaving behind her two best friends, Fumiya and Sayori. She returns as a young woman, surprised to find that Sayori died when she was a teenager. She reunites with Fumiya and they are horrified to learn that Sayori is mysteriously being resurrected via the island of Shikoku. Oh boy. I rented this because I like Asian horror and I think Chiaki Kuriyama a nifty actress. Unfortunately, if I had to describe Shikoku in one word, it would be "fruity." This movie is silly, boring, poorly filmed, unimaginative, and most of all, unscary. Kuriyama has minimal screen time as the resurrected Sayori, and her character is given little to work with.
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Derivative and bland, watch something else
poco loco24 March 2007
This quasi J-horror film followed a young woman as she returns to her childhood village on the island of Shikoku to sell the family house and meet up with old friends. She finds that one, the daughter of the village priestess, drowned several years earlier. She and Fumiko (another childhood friend) then learn that Sayori's mother is trying to bring her back to life with black magic. Already the bonds between the dead and living are getting weak and the friends and villagers are seeing ghosts. Nothing was exceptional or even very good about this movie. Unlike stellar J-horror films, the suspense doesn't really build, the result doesn't seem overly threatening and the ending borders on the absurd.

This movie is like plain white rice cooked a little too long so that it is bordering on mushy. Sometimes you get this at poor Asian restaurants or cook your own white rice a little too long. You end up eating it, because you need it with the meal, because what is Chinese or Japanese food without rice, but it almost ruins the meal because of the gluey, gooey tastelessness of it all. 3/10
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