Two wanted women decide to rob their wealthy psychotic friend who lives in the fantasy world they created as children; to take the money they have to take part in a deadly perverse game of make believe.
A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
Chloë Grace Moretz,
The novel by Ryu Murakami was billed as being a shocking work of horror, reminiscent of his horror masterpiece, Audition. I thought that by watching the film, I would get an idea of what the story in the book might entail. This movie, however, was not scary and it was not anywhere near the brilliance of Audition. It was a stylish modernized neo-noir thriller, disguised as a character study, disguised as a horror movie. This movie has no solid identity, and to call it a straight horror film would be incorrect, just like calling it a thriller would also be. What it is is a movie that tries to do many things, but the only thing it succeeds in being is being pretty. Personified, this movie is like a runway model who has no other talents. Very nice to look at...but that's it.
We have the lead, who is as unlikable a character as you can get. We barely have to time to get to know him, and I immediately disliked everything about him. He's mousy, frail and weak; everything a leading man shouldn't be. He has a dangerous fetish, and is trying to go through with it by using a call girl.
The call girl is as crazy as you expect, but she is also unlikable. She is also mousy and frail, looking as if she would tip over if you breathed on her. She has no redeemable qualities, and makes you not really care about her disposition.
Side characters are not given enough screen time to matter, and flashbacks don't have the impact they would have if you cared about anyone in the movie. I would liken watching this movie like sitting through a home movie of a group of people I disliked. I struggled to care, I was a bit shocked at what was going on, but in the end I was left with a resounding, "That's it? MEH!", which a movie should NEVER do.
The Japanese language has many nuances that don't really translate well to English. This is probably why there hasn't been a truly exceptional American film that was made from a work of Japanese literature. I am going to read the novel to see how it holds up to the film, and I really hope that it is nothing like this movie.
I was looking forward to the follow up of one of my favorite horror movies, "The Eyes of My Mother'. I could not be more disappointed.
What a shame.
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