While the first episode contributed by a Japanese Director, Takashi Miike's "Imprint" (Season 1, Episode 13) stands out as the absolute highlight of the entire "Masters Of Horror" series, this thirteenth episode of the second season, and second 'Japanese' MoH episode, Norio Tsuruta's "Dream Cruise" is mediocre at best. While one has to admit that "Dream Cruise" delivers acting talent, atmosphere and even genuine creepiness, the episode completely lacks one important element - originality. An avid lover of Japanese cinema, I am personally still not too fond of the majority of the recent Horror-output of this great cinematic country. There are many exceptions, of course (such as Miike's Horror films), but it seems that ever since the doubtlessly original "Ringu" had such huge success, the same formula has been repeated to a tiresome degree. And seeing "Dream Cruise" is just another repetition of the countless "Ringu"-clones, many of which instantaneously get remade as annoying Hollywood blockbusters. While the episode definitely has its creepy moments, everyone familiar with recent Japanes Horror films will inevitably have the impression to have seen it all before. Japanese Businessman Eiji (Ryo Ishibashi) takes his wife Yuri (Yoshino Kimura) and his American business-partner Jack (Daniel Gillies), who is also Yuri's lover, on a cruise. While the wife and the business-partner are not sure whether or not the husband knows about their relationship, the luxurious Yacht also seems to be haunted by something else... As stated before, the episode has its moments and the imagery is often chillingly creepy, but the lack of originality still lessens this one's value a lot. Ryo Ishibashi, who is probably best known for his role in Takashi Miike's "Audition" (1999), is a brilliant actor and he is once again great here, as is beautiful Yoshino Kimura as his wife. I can't say Daniel Gilles' performance impressed me, but he wasn't bad either. The greatest praise has to go to Miho Ninagawa, who is incredibly creepy in her role. Still, this does not entirely save this. The lack of originality is tiresome, and there is a stupidly sentimental sub-plot which annoyed the hell out of me. Even so, this is worthwhile for fans of the series.
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