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In Tokyo, the freelance cameraman Takuyoshi Masuoka is obsessed investigating the fear sensation near death. When he photographs a man stabbing himself in the eye in the access to the subway, he seeks what the suicidal man might have seen to experiment the same sense of horror the man felt when he died. He finds a passage to the Tokyo underground where he meets a mysterious naked woman that does not speak, who he calls her F. He brings F to his place and he tries to feed her, until he discovers that she drinks blood. Masuika becomes a serial killer draining the blood of his victims to nurse F. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Relentlessly making footage with an unearthly obsessiveness Masuoka (Shinya Tsukamoto) happens across a peculiar subway suicide, where an man named Furoki (Kazuhiro Nakahara) pokes out his eye, as if to stop himself from seeing something terrifying. Tantalized by this occurrence Masuoka replays the captured footage certain that something meaningful is hidden beyond the camera. He soon descends into the vast underground system beneath the city of Tokyo, finally wandering into an otherworldly place, where he finds a naked chained female (Tomomi Miyashita)...
After the success of "The Grudge" Takashi Shimuzu ventures into unusual horror territory with this independent low-key outing. Cut off from the rapidly ageing J-horror ghost craze Shimuzu manages to come out with an obscure, but simultaneously edgy and vastly brilliant journey in the madness of the long forgotten Shaver mystery and his theories of the Hidden World - a world situated beneath the surface, an underground metropolis infested with blood-hungry creatures called 'deros' (or 'detrimental robots'). Somewhere apart from a traditional horror structure, much inclined towards the insanity of other dimensions so prevalent in Lovecraft lore, Shimuzu delivers an frightfully disturbing piece. Not overflowing with pure scares, owes its atmosphere to a verite style chosen by the director, keeping the focus always marred with limited perspective of the human eye, as if something is always lurking just outside the line of sight. Masuoka himself constantly films throughout the movie, hence two perspectives - one from the camera of our protagonist, whilst the other a dimly lit grainy visuals portraying Masuoka closest surroundings - as if showing the world through the eyes of Masuoka in contrast to his camera lens. These two perspectives increasingly blur towards the end of the picture introducing doubts as to whether reality is better seen through human eyes or through the camera. Engulfed in this insane vision comes an ultimately captivating movie, which seems like a true breath of fresh air to the tired genre.
Open to varying interpretation as to true events obviously detaching itself from straightforward plot resolution, "Marebito" favourably invites rewatches and offers each viewer a possibility to construe their own take of the movie. A tale basically told from the perspective of Masuoka suggests that the whole endeavour is a journey in the subconscious, where reality comes back occasionally, vividly and meshes with the perception of our hero. Reality is what is created in the mind's eye, such as the Hidden World, which becomes real once people believe it. Essentially a journey in the depths of Masuoka's mind, his misgivings as a human, which made him detach into voyeuristic living through the camera lens, and human obsessions. Essentially more a metaphorical, albeit strange journey, much misunderstood and wrongfully limited to being just a horror, whereas it is more a psychological venture into the dark side of the mind.
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