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 fourth film attempt at the "Tomie" saga borrows a bit from the "Painter" chapter, as well as the "Hair" chapters. Unfortunately, as Tomie movies go, this one is no better than the three before it. While the direction was interesting, the cinematography above average, and the chills effective, the film ultimately suffers from a cast of really.. well, bland characters. Don't get me wrong -- the movie had arguably THE BEST Tomie out of them all in Miki Sakai, and the supporting actors did the best they could with the limited material the studio provided, but -- the lack of actual captivating characters and working plot really halts the whole movie from realizing its potential. Hideo was the second most intriguing person after Tomie, and he was gone within the first 10 minutes. I think the final product would've been much more entertaining had the script followed more into the Hideo and Tomie's "relationship", as opposed to his boring and dull friends. A straight adaptation of the manga chapter, in other words.
And then there's the "trademark" slow pacing that seems to plague every single Tomie film in existence. I don't know about you, but I really dislike how the characters seem to slow down to an almost zombie-like state once they become involved in the main plot -- it happened to Tsukiko in the original, it happened to Yumi and Fumihito in "Replay", and now it's happened to Hitomi and Takumi in "Rebirth". And with the lack of an actual coherent plot, this slug race becomes much less tolerable, and borderline irritating. Only Tomie herself should be allowed to move in half-dead fashion because that's essentially what she is, but for everyone else? Oh, God.
Nevertheless, it's not all lost; the movie redeems itself by casting Miki Sakai as the beautiful bakemono we've all come to love. Right away, she had the traditional look that had been missing since the original film (it seriously sucks that they didn't get Miki back for "Forbidden Fruit", by the way), and her portrayal of the character was much more lively and spunky than seen before. My only gripe here is that Miki's Tomie is slightly older than the ones from the previous movies and the source manga (she was 16-17 year old there; she seems about 20-ish here), but then again, it's almost a non-issue when you consider the rest of the characters also look to be in their early 20's as well. Had to bump Tomie up a few years to fit her in, I suppose. The gore and psychological scares have also been amped up slightly, although "Replay" still reigns as the better "Tomie" film in that department.
All in all, if you're a fan of the "Tomie" movies so far and had little to no problem accepting them as what they are, then you will enjoy "Reborth". If your introduction to the character is from Junji Ito's manga, and you hated all the movies so far... well, things aren't much better here than before. If anything, watch the movie for Miki's performance -- you'll see why she's arguably the best Tomie thus far.
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