Apparently this anthology of horror tales from Japan was "Made for TV"....and it shows. All five main stories (interspersed by a sixth story taking place on a late-night bus) could easily be called "Twilight Zone-esquire" and like that famous TV show, some stories hold up better than others.
"Spiderwoman" (KUMO-ONNA), directed by the writer of "Dark Water" centers on a tabloid reporter who is selling a lot of magazines by reporting on numerous, unconfirmed reports of a lady who is half-spider, who has been terrorizing suburban roads at night. It's pure cheese, and not particularly well-done, but it gets better as it goes along. ** 1/2.
"Crevices" (SUKIMA), by the director of "Ring 0" is much better. After a tenant disappears, the landlord calls the man's friend over to investigate. They find every nook and cranny of the apartment sealed up, along with a video camera of the tenant's final days....Short and to the point. *** 1/2
"Sacrifice" (ONAMAKUBI) is the most developed story of the five. A woman is being stalked by her co-worker, who's obsessed with black magic. At the same time, her mother falls ill...and memories of a giant disembodied head (!) from her childhood plague her memories. Not bad. ***
"Blonde Kaidan" (KINPATSU KAIDAN) is an embarrassment. By the same director as the Ju-on and Grudge films, it's about a Japanese guy visiting Hollywood. Pointless and pathetic. *
"Premonition" (YOKAN) is the only story that could rightfully be called a good movie. Well-done on all levels, it's a macabre story about a dishonest businessman who meets three unusual souls when he is trapped in an elevator. Good from start to finish. **** out of *****.
All in all, there's better Japanese horror out there, but this one is okay as a time-killer.
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