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St. John's Wort
St John's Wort
Actors: Megumi Okina, Yoichiro Saito, Koji Ookura, Reiko Matsuo, Minoru Terada
Director: Ten Shimoyama
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
R     2004     1hr 25min


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Movie Details

Actors: Megumi Okina, Yoichiro Saito, Koji Ookura, Reiko Matsuo, Minoru Terada
Director: Ten Shimoyama
Creators: Kazuhiko Ogura, Seigo Hirasawa, Kazukiyo Morishita, Masato Hara, Shinji Ogawa, Takenori Sentô, Goro Nakajima, Shűkei Nagasaka
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
Studio: Asylum Home Entertaiment
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/23/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 25min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Japanese, English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Movie Reviews

I am a big fan of Japanese Horror films.............
(Mr.) N. Sean Wright | Whiteville, NC USA | 02/14/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"But is this even considered a horror film?
This movie is hard to like and trust me, I tried,
but I just didn't get it. This film is an incomprehensible
mess that brings down the creative curve of a nation.

The only thing "St. John's Wort" has to its credit
is that familiar air of creepiness that makes
Japanese Horror films so great. But even with
this sense of mystery and suspense, the movie
fails to deliver.
I repeatedly found myself annoyed.
Even the climax of the film, when the main character's
twin makes his/her (?) appearance, is an utter (and strange)
I'm left with so many questions concerning the plot, but for some reason, I don't even care anymore.
Somehow, I expected so much more from the people that brought us
"The Ring".
If you're curious about this film, do yourself a favor. Rent it first. Wasting your time is one thing, but please don't commit two foolish acts at once: Buying AND watching this.
Skip this movie altogether.
Empty and wandering
Maryssa | USA | 08/01/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I rented this and it sounded promising, but I should really know better by now...
I agree that it did remind me of a video game - one I played where I had to scale the roof and climb up into a creepy bedroom window..., there weren't really any surprises, and what was the point of the sibling ending??
I thought that there was one scary moment, when they ran in to hide in that room, but it was so fleeting. I remember thinking that they could have gone in a ton of different directions with the movie, but they didn't. It makes me wary what I rent now."
Japanese horror at it's worst...
Poe the Ghost | Inside the great Deku Tree | 12/29/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"When I saw that this movie was made by the producer of Ringu (a.k.a. The Ring) I thought it was going to be a very good and creepy movie. Well, until I saw that the production company for this DVD was "The Asylum" then my expectations were slightly lowered, but I still thought it could be a decent film. Boy, was I wrong... The acting is terrible, the plot is lame and predictable, and the characters aren't very convincing. Worse still is since this is based off of some hit Japanese video game, they like to mix in alot of 3D backdrops and weird text scenes that make it particularly cheesey! Also, you can tell just how low budget this movie was due to the fact that it only has 4 actors in it!!!
Now, I usually like Asylum films because they're so cheesey that they're funny, but with this one, not so much... Sure the guy with Tenchi's voice who must mutter the name "Kausawa Suichi" some 20 times in a 10 minute period, and the weird blonde chick who dresses like a prostitute were funny at first, but the overall dullness of the film doesn't even make it worth watching for a laugh.

I rated this movie 2 stars only because I didn't absolutely hate it, and since I only paid 6 bucks for it, I don't really feel bad about buying it. And the fact that the mansion the movie is filmed in looks alot like Spencer Mansion from the first Resident Evil game was interesting.
However, this movie should be avoided. If you wanna see a horror movie that's so cheesey it's funny, buy House of the Dead 2 or Dead Men Walking. If you want a good Japanese horror movie, stick with Ringu, Ju-on, or Dark Water, leave this one in the bargin bin where it belongs..."
Think about the time it was released. Groundbreaking!
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 09/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Otogiriso (Ten Shimoyama, 2001)

Over the almost-decade since its release, the Japanese horror flick Otogiriso (in English, St. John's Wort) has grown into a bona fide underground sensation, but not in the same universal-acclaim way Ring did. No, Otogiriso is a movie that divides people in much the same way The Blair Witch Project did; those who love it will probably be fans for life, and those who hate it really, really, really hate it. Count me among those who loved it, though I'm not as rabid about it as most fans of the film; I can understand some of what the detractors of the film say (and it's undeniable that Shimoyama was a strong influence on both Uwe Boll and William Brent Bell, both of whom should have been stopped before making their second movies), and some of it is valid, but it's kind of like Alien vs. Predator; I knew I was supposed to hate it, but I couldn't, because it's such a damn good time.

Otogiriso (and for those of you wondering about the plant's supposed mood-elevating properties, it's explained early on in the movie that St. John's Wort is an old Japanese symbol for revenge) is the story of a software development company. Okay, no it isn't, but the four core characters work at a software development company. The head of the company and the head designer, Kohei (Sad Vacation's Yoichiro Saito), just had kind of a bad breakup with the team's head artist, Nami (Shutter's Megumi Okina--yes, it's the ubiquitous Japanese ghost girl playing a normal role!), and Nami is pulling away from the company, though she's still hanging around to finish the art for the game they're developing--a game based on her dreams. The coder geek of the bunch, and the network guy (this is important later), is Shin'ichi (The Sword of Alexander's Koji Ookura in his screen debut), and the level designer is Toko (Reiko Matsuo, who normally works as an anime voice artist). In any case, Nami's father has just passed away, and she has inherited the old mansion out in the middle of nowhere. Kohei offers to drive her, though whether it's just to patch things up and keep her working for the company or whether to try and win her back we're not entirely sure. When they get to the house, Kohei discovers a lot of Soichi Kaizawa art on the walls and goes gaga--Kaizawa is one of his favorite artists. At which point Nami mentions that Kaizawa was her father. (You'd think they'd have had that discussion at some point.) In any case, this is a Japanese horror film, you know what's going on. They're not alone in the house. Is the menacing presence in the house just the creepy caretaker, or is something else after them?

Yes, things get a little whamped as time goes on, and some people see the movie's final five minutes as adding to the whamp factor, but I get what Sento (producer of Ring, working on his first screenplay) and Nakajima (Dogs) were doing with it, and it didn't bother me one bit; in fact, considering the setup, I found it highly amusing. I do see the criticism that it wasn't sure what kind of movie it wanted to be--the first two-thirds are your basic slow, atmospheric Japanese horror film, while the final third goes straight into based-on-videogame territory--but that's a criticism that can only be levelled in the age of Uwe Boll. Remember that Boll's first piece of videogame tripe, House of the Dead, didn't come out until two years after this, and in 2001, movies based on videogames were not the commodity that they are now. What did Shimoyama have to work from as far as influences, Super Mario Brothers? (Granted, this is not a movie based on a videogame, but one about a videogame that does not yet exist; think of it as a cross between Stay Alive and P. J. Tracy's novel Monkeewrench and you'll be getting somewhere.) But it's got that same slick, effective style as the better videogame movies to have come along since, so I think it kinda-sorta qualifies.

In any case, judging by the way everyone else reacts to this movie, you will either love it or hate it, but no one's in the middle on this one. I say turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. *** ½