Release Date: December 9th, 2005 (NYC-Landmark Sunshine Cinemas) by Tartan Films.
The Cast: Shinya Tsukamoto, Tomomi Miyashita, Kazuhiro Nakahara, Miho Ninagawa, Shun Sugata.
Directed by Takashi Shimizu.
In Japanese with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Masuoka (Tsukamoto), a freelance cameraman, hunts for mysterious spirits in a subway system after watching a gruesome video of a man committing suicide.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Marebito starts off scary and suspenseful as Masuoka fixates on what a suicidal man might have seen that frightened him before he died. He immediately goes to the subway—the scene of the crime—where he finds a dark, hidden underground caverns. Within these caverns, he sees strange apparitions, including the man who committed suicide. Suddenly, he stumbles upon a silent, naked woman he calls F (Miyashita) chained to a wall. When he brings her above-ground, that’s when the plot becomes tedious, unimaginative and loses its scares. For some reason, Masuoka feels the need to keep her alive, so he ends up feeding her blood because she won’t take food or water. In essence, she is just a silent vampire. There’s plenty of blood and gore during these scenes as he fills up bottles of blood from innocent victims. Most of Marebito is filed with digital video, but some of it uses a grainy hand-held camera to show what Masuoka records. Unfortunately, there’s not enough character development to care about him or what happens to him. The underground caverns could have been much more interesting has they been explored more often—in the literal sense. Or, at least, F could have been given a real purpose other than just to suck blood. Moreover, the last ten minutes feel slightly muddled with strange hallucinations which never really become shocking or remotely engaging.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none. The unsatisfying ending fails to impact you on any level—intellectual or emotional.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal imagination, very little character development, and a tedious plot.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
THE BOTTOM LINE: Without enough imagination with its plot or characters, Marebito fails to generate any real scares or suspense to hold your attention for 92 minutes.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "M" Menu