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In this second installment of the Whispering Corridors series, a young girl finds a strange diary, capable of arousing hallucinations, kept by two of her senior fellow-students who seem to have an unusually close bond.
Clearly a Ring-ripoff, but pretty enjoyable nonetheless
Shibuya Kaidan is basically about a group of friends who use a locker that is supposedly haunted. Soon enough, weird stuff stars happening, and everyone is soon haunted by the ghost of a little girl with long (when I say that, I mean Cousing It-long) black hair. As they start getting killed off in a number of (mostly unintentionally funny) ways, it's up to the remaining friends to figure out why they are being haunted.
Probably the films biggest flaw is that there is not one shard of originality running through this. This movie not only steals a few great ideas from Ring, but also steals entire sequences from others. There's a hand-shaped protrusion coming out of a locker door, intended to scare you. The thing is, we say the same exact thing in the infinitely better 'Dark Water'. We also see the ghost girl do some creepy crawling, which was all-to-familiar to 'Ju-on'. We get hair coming out from under doors and such, visions of a creepy little girl, etc. We've seen this all before, but put together in a much more organized fashion.
That said, if you like J-Horror, you'll love this (I sure did). Yes, it's unoriginal and kind of predictable, and yes, it's evidentially not very groundbreaking. But it is really fun, and is actually somewhat chilling. There are many effective moments and the atmosphere is really eerie, however there are a few unintentionally funny moments. And even though the ghost is a Sadako/Kayako/Toshio-replication, I have to say, she is very very CREEPY. But of course, this movie has it's share of flaws. I haven't even gotten to the rest of them. First off, there isn't really any solid acting. The only performances that are really good come from the little girl who plays the ghost, Kasumi Sakon, and Asami Mizukawa. Second thing is the weak plot and solid story. There's also a few gaping plot holes, but I won't go into that just for the sake of time.
A few other good things... The music was good. Even though it was the same tune throughout the entire thing, it worked well. Another good thing is the quality of the actual video. It's of bad quality, but it somehow makes it feel more realistic. But the thing that will probably surprise you- I actually saw some meaning behind this (as in an underlying theme). There's some definite sub-text on loneliness and neglect here, but unfortunately, it's hard to spot due to all the flaws.
So in the end, I happen to really like this movie. But compared to other Japanese films such as RING and KAIRO, this is simple stuff. Still, if you like J-Horror, this is worth checking out.
Note: A DVD was recently released which contains Shibuya Kaidan, and Shibuya Kaidan 2.
My rating: 7/10.
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