CAPSULE MOVIE REVIEWS - MAREBITO (THE STRANGER FROM AFAR)
Increasingly unsettling Lovecraftian horror film by way of gonzo Japanese cinema. A mentally-ill video producer named Masuoka goes off his meds and becomes obsessed with a suicide in which a man stabs out his own eyes. Becoming more and more convinced that the man saw something so horrifying that the only way he thought he could unsee it was to stab out his eyes, Masuoka delves into an impossible space below the underground trains and discovers a beautiful girl. The girl is the catalyst for Masuoka’s condition to deteriorate into complete mania and insanity as he drags the audience down the rabbit hole into a land of bizarre creatures and unstable truth. Twisting possibilities come together to make a wholly uneasy viewing experience. (4/5)
Shinya Tsukamoto is well cast in Takashi Shimizu’s dark fable; the director of Tetsuo: The Iron Man gives a singularly withdrawn and twitchy performance as the tortured protagonist. Filmed between Shimizu’s most well-known J-Horror film, Ju-On, and his English-language remake The Grudge, Marebito is better than both despite being an oft-times confusing concoction of mad genius. Shot in a mere 8 days on digital video it is a hurried and all-together unique blend of insane hollow Earth theory, mental illness, H.P. Lovecraft, vampires, voyeurism, and murder worthy of David Cronenberg or David Lynch. Highly recommended!
New pictures have been released from the set of Takashi Shimizu’s live-action adaptation of Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyubin, out 2014) featuring Kiki’s friend and admirer Tombo (Ryohei Hirota).