A young girl looking through her father's notes finds something written about the last experiment he worked on before he went insane. Everything looks ordinary until the name "Tomie" begins appearing throughout the notebook.
A detective investigates a series of murders. A possible serial killer might be on a rampage, since they all are in the same vicinity and by the same method, but as the evidence points ... See full summary »
The TOMIE series of Japanese 'horror' films have been a real chore to sit through. The first one was at least novel but hardly a classic in the same way as RING or THE GRUDGE. The second, a horrendous shot-on-video anthology under the name of TOMIE: ANOTHER FACE, is best forgotten. The third, TOMIE: REPLAY, was instantly forgettable, telling exactly the same story as the original film with little to no variation. The fourth, TOMIE: REBIRTH, is another re-run of the same themes, and has exactly the same problems as its predecessor: it goes nowhere we haven't seen before, it doesn't explain any of Tomie's origins or behaviour, and it's way too familiar given what's come previously.
The film begins with a resurrected Tomie the girlfriend of an art student. It's fair to say that their relationship doesn't end well, and from that point in the film follows the established route: Tomie can't die, and also seems to be able to multiply in some strange way. The storyline is an excuse for some ghoulish japes involving animated severed heads and some grisly body disposal sequences, but aside from that it's largely boring. What's particularly annoying is the way lots of scenes seem to be drawn out to a ridiculous degree; two characters will have a conversation but leave long spaces between words and utterances. It doesn't add atmosphere, it just feels like the slim story is being stretched out to fill the running time.
The man who directed this, Takashi Shimuzu, also handled the two excellent GRUDGE movies, not that you'd realise. Tomie: Rebirth looks and feels cheap, and the picture quality on the DVD I watched was particularly fuzzy. The acting is poor, with Miki Sakai probably the least impressive of the actresses who've played Tomie so far. The film relies far too much on her supposedly creepy giggle for effect, when in fact it just sounds silly. Inevitably, a sequel (TOMIE: FORBIDDEN FRUIT) follows.
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