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February 13, 2012

Movie Review: Gurozuka (2005)

Directed by Yoichi Nishiyama

Starring Nozomi Ando, Yukari Fukui and Yuko Ito

The story revolves around a group of Japanese high school girls who have formed a film club. They head to a remote house deep in the woods to work on a film project. While driving to the house in the woods the girls are discussing a rumor that 2 other girls from the same club had been murdered or ended up in an asylum after visiting the same house years before. One of the girls, Yoko, who was a member at the time, denies the rumors. However, once at the house, one of the girls finds a video tape that appears to show a girl being murdered by someone in a traditional Noh mask and its not long before they realize that the rumors of the murder were based in fact. Their food is mysteriously stolen, girls begin to disappear, some of them randomly show back up out of nowhere but some are found dead. When we get to the end of the movie, the person in the Noh mask is revealed and this movie is mercifully over.

Buy Gurozuka on DVD
I am a big fan of Japanese horror, and 9 times out of 10 just having a bevy of hot young Asian girls on the screen is usually enough to keep my attention through a feature film, I am just kind of a caveman like that. But even the hot chicks weren't enough to save this one for me, so lets go through the laundry list of what did not work in this film.

The dialog (via subtitles) was so rudimentary it made all the characters come across simplistically one-dimensional. There was only one scene which even came close to creepy, when the girl views a video tape of some footage that was shot earlier in the day which shows the masked killer sneaking up behind one of the other girls. Unfortunately that scene was all of about 3 seconds. The story was an obvious play on the supernatural ghost stories The Ring & The Grudge only instead of a ghost as the villian its a masked slasher. It wanted to be a horror movie but forgot that it actually has to atleast attempt to be scary in order to pull that off. But the most unfortunate thing about Gurozuka for me was the fact that they tried to make a slasher film that never has any actual slashing scenes. Well, thats not entirely true,we do see a knife tap the top of a girls head with about 7-8 minutes left in the film, all the other murders are implied, simply showing dead girls lying in the woods or in the house which we are to assume met their end via the slasher.

The score was poorly edited and just came across as choppy, cutting in and out of scenes very poorly. This one just felt like a bush-league attempt at cashing in on the success of similar films of the same genre, and I would recommend you take a pass on this one.

4 out of 10 Reviewed by KennyB

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