Notable Cast: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satō
J-horror is something I've always been pretty fond of since I was a teenager; Ju-On, Ringu, the works of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and so on have always gotten under my skin and really stuck with me in a lot of ways that horror films elsewhere haven't managed to do. I guess I can also add to that, I am not truly a horror genre fan although there is quite a bit I do like in the whole never-ending pool of cinema out there. I've been interested in checking out some of the earlier stuff, and this is very, very early ('64), and is essentially a pre-cursor to what was to come out of Japan. So does it live up to its reputation? I would say yes, although I do have a few problems, but first, the good!
|I need make-up on for the part where I'm scared, right?|
|The Hag... brilliant performance, and I kept thinking of Jeon Do-yeon,|
which is great, as she is my favorite actress in the world.
She totally steals the show. Bravo Nobuko Otowa, bravo!!!
The acting by the two leading ladies is worth mentioning too. The daughter in-law, played wonderfully by Jitsuko Yoshimura (Pigs & Battleships), is full of lust to the returned soldier after realizing her husband is never coming back and Nobuko Otowa, who became a Kaneto Shindo regular (and his wife), absolutely steals the show as the hag (not my choice of name) who mourns for her son. She is absolutely creepy and chilling, and the further the film progresses, the more twisted and full of hate she becomes, and it's quite brilliant.
|Stop... Onibaba time!|
For those interested in J-horror, or those that love J-horror, you should find a lot to like here. It's not typical in the way the more modern films are done (again like Ringu, Ju-On, and so on), it's not about the scares at all. It's really slow burning, and comes through as creepy rather than scary, and it works. There were quite a few moments I know that will stick with me for years to come, and that is exactly what I expected, and loved about this film. The ending is truly fantastic, and helps further the iconic nature of this classic horror flick. One that needs to be sought out by all film lovers. Highly recommended!
Written by Josh Parmer