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After Dark Horrorfest: Reincarnation
Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Written by Takashi Shimizu, Masanori Adachi
Starring Yuka, Karina, Tetta Sugimoto, Shun Oguri
Produced by Taka Ichise
If there was any movie in the After Dark Horrorfest expected, even required, to be good, it is “Reincarnation.”
Why so much pressure on this one particular film? That’s an easy one. See, the director of this little beauty is none other than Takashi Shimizu, director of none other than the Ju-On series. Longtime readers will remember that I consider the original “Ju-On” to be one of the scariest movies of all time. So with the baddest of the bad ass Japanese directors at the helm of both the film and the script, it had damn well better be good.
The menu will bear out—though not quite as good as the amazing wonder “Gravedancers” was, it’s apprpropriately ominous, with plenty going on in the background
The plot certainly suggests no problems. It’s a ghost story, just like “Ju-On.” Except this time, a film crew’s gone to a hotel with a particularly violent history to re-enact the killings that took place there thirty five years ago. Anyone who’s seen ghost hunting shows on various cable channels will understand that this is widely regarded as a Bad Idea. And indeed, that’s what happens. Fact became fiction becomes fact again as the cast of the film are killed off in the manner in which they are to die on film.
Shimizu employs one of the guaranteed best scare devices the Japanese cinema has ever known—silent, freaky little girls holding creepy, deformed dolls. Now THAT is scary shit. Think about it—watching some little six year old with a pug-fugly little doll in her arms as she stares you down like she’s trying to figure out whether or not you taste good? Creepy!
And the often-favored Japanese plot device of “there’s something creepy in the background and it’s just STANDING THERE!!” will also be in frequent attendance.
The more you watch through “Reincarnation,” the more you realize that you have to watch it like a hawk. Because on more than one occasion, someone will react to something scary they just saw, only to miss something else completely different and equally frightening happen in the background. Watching reality occasionally boil away to be replaced by some new phantom reality is a shock, and not surprisingly, quite a treat.
The ending launches off the biggest surprise I’ve seen in a good long while. Frankly, if it came any farther out of left field they’d be calling this sucker “The Green Monster” instead of “Reincarnation.” Oh, there’s also going to be a really, really freaky scene involving that pug-fugly doll. Trust me, don’t eat or drink anything during the last nine minutes. You’re likely to choke.
The special features include a director’s introduction, a couple of making of featurettes, deleted scenes with commentary, and trailers for the After Dark Horrorfest, “Dark Ride,” “The Hamiltons,” “Gravedancers,” “Unrest,” “Penny Dreadful” and “Wicked Little Things.”
All in all, Shimizu does not disappoint. Though it’s not quite the wild, insane romp of terror that “Gravedancers” was, it’s easily got the number two slot.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
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