July 08, 2007

KOKKURI (1997) weak but sexiful ghost story

(1997, Japan, Kokkuri-San)

Region 1 NTSC DVD (Asia-Vision/Urban-Vision)

Can’t say that I enjoyed this much. The supernatural element was too slight, and the drama too low-budget. It was highly reminiscent of the Korean Whispering Corridors films, but centred on boyfriends, instead of the girls' relationships with each other. A love triangle gets mixed up in a truth game disguised as a ouija-type summoning of a spirit.

As usual the Japanese get hung up on the exact nature of the rules of the ghost-summoning, rather than talk examine their relationships and misunderstandings.

The sexual element was unusually explicit, setting this apart from most Japanese horror films. The nudity also made this a more realistic teenage drama, when most mainstream dramas barely show romantic couples touching, let alone kissing.

The dramatic ploy of having one of the girls hosting a radio show, playing recordings of distressed listeners, seemed all too far-fetched. None of the adult radio producers in the studio intervene when it’s all going wrong, and one of them is her elder sister! The use of reel-to-reel decks giveaway the fact that the film is 10 years old.

The DVD picture is quite soft, and seemed to be off an old analogue master, complete with tape creases, rather than digital faults, and the letterbox was non-anamorphic, also a sign that it’s a pre-digital master. Despite being a US release, the subtitle translations seemed to be quite loose, making the plot more confusing than it should have been.

1 comment:

  1. It was more drama than ghost story. I was kind of disappointed.