Kinoshita's first film after the end of World War II is a wrenching, superbly wrought tale about a liberal-minded Japanese family torn apart by war and imperialist politics. Morning for the... See full summary »
Picking up where the story left off in part 1, Iemon Tamiya and Naosuke coerce Takuetsu, the masseur, into helping them get rid of the dead bodies of Oiwa and Kohei. As planned, Tamiya marries Oume and Naosuke seeks blackmailing profit. But, we witness the perfect crime fall apart thanks to Yomoshichi and Osode's search for Oiwa while Kohei's mother yearns to find her son, with a troubling feeling that he's dead. Also escalating is Tamiya's guilt and madness, plagued by hallucinations and nightmares of the image of Oiwa, eventually frightening Oume for whom he believes she is at times. Meanwhile, Naosuke becomes a major nuisance, demanding money from Tamiya, mistreating Omaki who he used to gain influence within the Ichimonji-ya family, and threatening Osode & Yomoshichi to put aside their investigation into a potential murder of Oiwa. Takuetsu doesn't make Naosuke's life any easier, asking for "hush money" thanks to concealing his knowledge regarding the whereabouts of Kohei and Oiwa..the elder masseur doesn't know what evil intent Naosuke has in store for him. Also developing is an ex-husband of Omaki looking for Naosuke for his involvement in the interruption of the jailbreak.
Lots going on in this close to the two-part melodrama about the repercussions of murder for personal gain. Those involved must answer for their misdeeds and, unfortunately for Tamiya, he will realize Naosuke's treachery, not to mention, face the horrors of his own transgressions, his errors psychologically manifesting, endangering those women who even remotely resemble Oiwa. Director Keisuke Kinoshita's style is certainly crude, at times, but he establishes some impressive set-pieces such as the fiery Inchimonji-ya family's estate in the climax as Tamiya chases after Oume, and eventually Naosuke, as a giant inferno erupts. The camera work can be a bit sloppy and certain scenes could've been set up more effectively(..some chases, consisting of Naosuke either attempting to kill someone, or avoiding a foe coming toward him with a sword, are pulled back so far you can barely see the action), but I felt that Japanese film-making in it's early stages was just developing and can accept that the process was evolving..certain inadequacies were bound to emerge as filmmakers grew familiar with the medium. But, the story itself I found gripping even though I expected the outcome because crime doesn't pay and those who participate in such an act must suffer persecution for their involvement. Deceptively classified as horror, but THE GHOST OF YOTSUYA PART II is more of a morality tale without the single use of a ghost(..in the literal sense)at all. That was indeed disappointing because I was expecting to see Tamiya tormented by Oiwa's ghost, and instead he was tortured by the manifestations of his own psyche(..you rarely see Oiwa's face, just Tamiya's terrified expressions).
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