Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Miki Sakai, Satoshi Tsumabuki
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
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John C. (bookwheelboy)
Reviewed on 12/30/2007...
Looks odd, no?
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Why not remake THIS? It can only be an improvement.
R. Grubb | Minneapolis, MN USA | 11/14/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie must be great, since they made so many sequels, right? All, I can make of that is that they saw it, and just had to save the bizarre and fascinating manga from the fate it suffers here, so they had to do it again.
There was so much potential here. A story of a beautiful and terrifying girl who is repeatedly murdered by men who "love" her, and she always comes back. A detective in the movie has been investigating her murder when he realizes that for many years, there have been murders reported with a victim named Tomie Kawakami, but none of the bodies have ever been found. (It says on the back of the DVD that the murders date back to when Japan first became industrialized, and while I'm sure that's probably a pretty significant plot point, I don't remember them mentioning it anywhere in the actual movie.) When the detective realizes what is happening, instead of finding the murderer, he instead becomes obsessed with finding Tomie Kawakami. He knows she must really be a smokin' hot babe to drive all those men insane with passion to the point of killing her so many times. This subplot is centered around the main character, who's boyfriend ditched her in high school for, you guessed it, a recent incarnation of Tomie. Then he cut her head off. Of course, she has this memory blacked out, like it's supposed to be some sort of a mystery we're trying to solve, but come on! We already know that Tomie has been murdered a bunch of times. So what else could it be?
I find the character of Tomie interesting, because she is like the hot babe in the slasher flick who gets iced in a way that many feminist theorists have interpreted as misogynist. The girl serves a purpose of looking good (sometimes getting naked) and then dying a violent death for our entertainment. We don't know anything more about her beyond our voyueristic viewing pleasure. But Tomie is the beautiful slasher victim come back to life to terrorize her killer, not by actually DOING anything, but merely by living, and unnerving him with her unshakeable presence.
There is a lot here to explore. There are so many unanswered questions about Tomie for us to ponder. For example, we know that Tomie is immortal, but why does she end up killed so many times? She seems to have an energy that causes men to fall in love with her, and go mad. But why does she use it? Does it amuse her to go back and stand in front of the person who saw her die by his hand? What is also interesting is the brutal way in which she is killed. You usually don't see her shot, poisoned, or hit on the head. The one who decides to kill her usually chops her up into pieces. So why do ordinary men all decide to do this? Does she want them to? We see her regenerate from a single chopped up body part. Does she want to be dismembered so that she can replicate herself? Or does she love to freak people out by appearing as a talking severed head? Tomie stays young forever, but does she need to be killed in order to keep from aging?
The manga explored many of these themes, but in a way vague enough to not give us any true answers. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't explore any of them, and plods along with some dull character development and minimal gore. Now, if you're reading this, and saying to yourself, "This chick doesn't understand Japanese horror subtlety, and just wants to see a bloody slasher flick," you're wrong. I love the subtlety of Japanese horror, and between gore and plot, I will always opt for the latter. But this doesn't have either one.
There is one interesting thing it does have, however. The main character is very beautiful, and I don't mean that in a geeky, "watch this cuz it's got hot chicks!" kinda way. But it gives more insight into what Tomie actually does. The main character had a boyfriend in high school who fell in love with Tomie, and I found it quite interesting how much more striking she looked in contrast to Tomie. In the behind the scenes footage, the actress playing Tomie was much prettier than she was in the film, which made it seem that making Tomie less attractive than her romantic rival was a conscious choice. It seems that Tomie has the power to manipulate people, specifically males, into falling in love with her, and believing her to be the most beautiful woman in the world, when in fact, she's not.
Of all the Japanese horror out there, why did this one come out in the US before Uzumaki? This is one film you'll never hear anyone begging Hollywood not to remake."
Sometimes they come back
bonsai chicken | United States | 08/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A young man is jostled in the street. He steps aside to check on his package. Through a hole in the bag, something peers back at him...
Photography student Tsukiko suffers from amnesia and insomnia, but when she does sleep, she dreams of herself covered in blood...
A detective is investigating the murder of a high school girl named Tomie, and its connection with similar murders in other locations, dating back over 100 years - all of a girl with the exact same name...
TOMIE is an effective Japanese thriller based on the manga by Junji Ito. While there aren't really any big scares, it does build up some nice tension through skillful camerawork and deliberate pacing. I don't think it'll keep me up at night like other Asian horror films of the past few years did, but it's an intriguing story that leaves room for mystery and imagination.
The DVD is presented in Japanese with optional white English subtitles, anamorphic widescreen, and Dolby digital 5.1 stereo, though I didn't notice any sound separation as I was watching. The image quality is a bit washed-out looking, but it's good enough. There are trailers for the five TOMIE films as well as a making-of featurette.
The film is unrated. It is a bit bloody but not particularly graphic, and would be fine for teens and up."
Great Movie, Became A HUGE Fan! But You May Not
GameraRocks | Gillsville, GA USA | 05/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tomie is a compelling story about this "demon" girl that makes men go mad with jealousy over her. I am one of the unfortunate people who have not read the Manga comics, but watching the movie made me an instant fan. I have become a huge fan. Though not scary, this horror movie is more of a suspense and mystery movie. Not much horror at all, but it's a different story with the sequels. Everyone talks about the theme song to the movie, and I have to agree, it's one of the best theme songs for any horror movie I have ever heard, it's very memorable. It's as memorable as the theme from Halloween.
This movie is awesome, but don't watch it if you want to see a movie that will scare your pants off, because not matter how good this movie is, it's not scary. The sequels, on the other hand, are more horror oriented and you know you're watching a horror movie. If you want a thought provoking, intelligent movie, this is for you. Unfortunately, because the people who made the movie assume you have read the comics, you will walk away from the movie confused at some parts. It's a 100% guarantee that if you haven't read the comics, you will have some confusion. The movie asks so many questions, but gives so few answers. Despite the confusion, the movie still comes off as a great movie. This is for anyone who loves Japanese movies. If you're like me, you will become an instant fan of the film series. I love it!