A young girl looking through her father's notes finds something written about the last experiment he worked on before he went insane. Everything looks ordinary until the name "Tomie" begins appearing throughout the notebook.
When abused children return after they went missing, their abusers find a mysterious death after 3 days. Local newspaper reporter Shunya investigates the deaths, while his girlfriend Naomi gets too close to one of the haunted children.
Daigo doesn't go to school anymore. His sister, Kiriko, is worried and their father is no help. Now Daigo is missing. He's in danger, and Kiriko will have to follow him into a world of nightmares to discover the truth.
An anthology of several short films by several directors where each has taken inspiration from a favourite song of his by the Japanese punk rock band. The segments include Be Kind to Others, Love Letter and A Boy's Song.
"Tomie: Re-Birth"- Another step in the right direction for the troubled franchise. Mildly creepy and atmospheric.
If there's one thing that can and should be said for the popular cult- franchise "Tomie", it's this: despite an extremely shaky and underwhelming start, the series does make a noted improvement each time with its first round of sequels. It's a franchise that can be well-worth investing in as a result, despite also being one that has the most extremes of up's and down's throughout it's numerous entries.
Yes, despite being a massive fan of the horror genre and particularly of Japanese creep-shows, I've never been particularly taken with the original "Tomie" movie. Based on a popular ongoing manga of the same name by author Junji Ito, the first entry in the film franchise was a messy swarm of under-developed ideas, sloppy attempts at atmosphere building, trite and hackneyed writing and direction and poorly established rules. It was a fundamental failure both as an example of horror and as a film in general. Thankfully, it's first sequel in "Tomie: Replay" was a marked improvement in virtually every capacity, with fun direction, decent writing and generally strong performances.
And I do think that this third entry, "Tomie: Re-Birth", is another step in the right direction for the franchise. With a nice, slow sense of pacing and a great sense of direction from famed director Takashi Shimizu, this entry has a lot going for it. It stands as one of the better early entries in the series, and can be a great deal of fun.
A young woman named Tomie is modeling for a painting by an artist named Hideo. After she defaces the painting in a jealous fit, Hideo kills her. But, as any fan of the series will know... Tomie will not die. And thus she returns to torment the artist and his friends, leading to an intense and disturbing story filled with twists, turns and subversion of expectation...
I firmly believe the main strength that sets this entry apart is the wonderful direction of Takashi Shimizu, who is best known for creating the very popular haunted-house series "Ju-On" and for also directing the first two entries in its American remake series "The Grudge." Shimizu is a fine director when it comes to slow-build, atmospheric horror, and he excels here with some great, creepy sequences of bodily terror. It's arguably the most disturbing of the first three films, and Shimizu it helps to give it a grand sense of dread and intrigue. Especially in some of the very trippy-yet-grounded visuals that he relishes in. We also have one of the best Tomie's of the series here thanks to actress Miki Sakai, who excels in the role in a way not many of the other actresses to portray the character have.
The film does have some faults to it, however. Much as many entries in the series do. I found that while it is a good time, it can often move a bit slowly. To the point it can be boring even. Some scenes feel a tad out of place and wonkilly inserted into the narrative. And much like virtually every other film in the series, it wrongfully assumes that the viewer is intimately familiar with the source material, causing some confusion with those who aren't. And it is a serious problem- adaptations should be able to stand on their own without knowledge of what came before. The films should try and explain the rules and goings on more than they have been to this point. It causes an unnecessary level of confusion for the viewer, and not in an intentional way.
That being said, I'd rank this one right about on par with the previous entry- the very enjoyable but mildly flawed "Replay." It's a lot of fun. It's very watchable. It runs laps around the sub-par original. But it still has a few faults holding it just shy of being a "great" movie. As it stands, it's merely decent. Worth watching for fans of horror and Asian cinema... but probably not for general movie-goers.
I give "Tomie: Re-Birth" a slightly above average 6 out of 10. Another step in the right direction for the series. But not enough of an improvement for me to call it a great film.
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