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Misa Kuroi is an adorable high-school girl who arrives at her new school when it is falling under an evil supernatural force. Trying to figure out who's behind the supernatural attack, Misa also has to deal with assumptions by her fellow classmates that believe she is the one behind it all. Misa and twelve other students are kept late after school hours one day to retake an exam. Then, after sunset, the entire school is deserted, and the students find themselves trapped inside and their teacher no where to be found. One by one, the thirteen students are picked up and disposed of in horrific and graphic fashion. It is up to Misa to try and gain the trust of her fellow students so that she can protect them and stop the evil before it's too late.Written by
Artemis-9 (edited by Anthony C)
Schools not out for the cursed, well just not yet.
Misa Kuroi is the new mysterious girl at a Japanese High School, who knows about witchcraft and this, is what has drawn her to this place. Something evil is lurking and she's there to put an end to it. She gains respect from her fellow pupils when she confesses to being a witch, when she performs curse on a hated teacher and it works. However it all changes, when the teacher actually turns up in a very severe accident. She gets the blame, as gossip spreads that people close to her die. During an after school exam, Misa and twelve students get locked in for the night and their teacher has disappeared. When they try to escape, there seems to be some sort of force stopping them from leaving and trying to kill them off. There only chance rests on Misa, but trying to convince them to trust her is another matter.
We get a change of pace with this quirky, surrealistic, lurid and highly bold low-budget occult / supernatural / slasher J-horror film, which is inspired by Shinichi Koga's 70's Manga comics. Yes, there's no vengeful spirits here. The film basically exploits its risqué moments at every opportunity with candid lesbian acts (teacher and student relationship) that follow onto unpleasantly gruesome details in what you can call spicy camp.
Director Shimako Sato stylishly paints an edgy shocker with grisly set pieces worked into a claustrophobic atmosphere of dread, which hangs over the latter half of the film. The cheap feel to it all works to its advantage with its limited sets (basically all set in the school grounds), and the adept special effects and macabre make-up comes off extremely potent and well organised. While the majority of the pacing in the opening half slowly kicks off in first gear, it's not until just after the halfway mark where the tempo gets frenetic and the blood splatter hits the fans. Lurking within the haunting context is a cold and creepy tenor, which makes the inventive deaths incredibly blood curdling. The sweeping camera work that's dreamt up can capture some uncanny frames and lighting is kept rather under-lit to breath a really unsteady gloominess. In the background is a faintly effective and wistful music score. The story is nothing we haven't seen before, but it still comes off fresh and stable with its interesting idea, which silly overtones can feature and convoluted actions creep up. Nonetheless it keeps a disorientating and tense feeling on how things are going to turn out in the end.
There's not much of a background to the witch Misa in this story, as she's pretty much thrown right into this one and we got to accept it, even though this vagueness could frustrate. This would be the first of four chapters of this character. And the second entry (which is so-so and reminded of "The Terminator") would go onto be a prequel, which explained a lot about Misa's past and how she became to be a witch. The static script throws around plenty of witchcraft mumbo jumbo and lets the mystery unfold perfectly fine with few well-disguised red herrings and pawn-figures. The usual twists are also thrown in for good measure.
Performances range from brooding to flamboyant, but either way it always amused. Kimika Yoshino in the lead part brings a quiet determination in her strong performance as Misa. Naozumi Takahashi lives it up, in the part of the jealous, wannabe wizard student and Miho Kanno keeps it all innocent and soft as Misa's friend. A stellar Ryoka Yuzuki looks steamy, but strikes up a flinty barrier in her small part and Mio Takaki makes for a stoically steely turn as the teacher Shirai.
A dark, foreboding teen J-horror film in the area of black magic, which it's bumpy pacing can get just too causal. Well worth the peek for fans.
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