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A psychic housewife and her husband become burdened with a kidnapped girl who escaped her assailant. Junko will not let her husband call the hospital or the police for purely selfish reasons. The girl dies while still in their house and her ghost begins to haunt not only Junko but also her husband, Sato (Koji Yakusho). Written by
Scary Movie (Not the Hollywood spoof; this movie is really scary)
I cannot remember being scared by a movie like this. "The Sixth Sense" had very scary parts, but this was scary throughout. Writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who showed us what he could do when he transformed the thriller "Cure" into a chilling horror-like ending, now brings us pure horror with "Séance (Korei)". If you think the little girl in Poltergeist or the Exorcist are scary, you've never been haunted by a little girl before. Kurosawa makes this little darling so creepy that you might see her in the streets for the next few days (I'm slightly exaggerating here, but aren't movies always a bit exaggerated). Which is not exaggerated, however, is the skill Kurosawa has to entrance the viewer in a slow cumulating fear that creeps up from the bottom of your spine and spread through your shivering body. He uses hallways, shadows, rooms and corners like a magician and makes you feel right in the middle of the action, frightened, expecting and not knowing what to do.
Visually mesmerizing (unintentional reference to what we learn in "Cure"), "Seance" still has a solid story which puts characters in an interesting situation and begs the audience to think "what would you do if this happened to you?". Acting is very potent, especially from lead actor Koji Yakusho. The story has enough twists and turns to keep you captivated and some actual substance as to the role of the paranormal in today's society. What endures undoubtedly, is the atmosphere of fright.
If you want to see a scary movie, see this one.
Note: For those who think this is a "Sixth Sense" knock-off, please be advised that this movie was made in Japan and that there were ghost stories there way before Hollywood. I saw this movie at a special screening, in the presence of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and he was telling us that he based the idea for the ghosts in his story on various credible people he knows who claim that they actually witnessed ghost apparitions. It was a recurring theme that the room seemed colder when they appeared, so he made the breath visible to indicate that. The fact that he portrayed them without a face was his own interpretation and what he wished to express to the viewer.
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