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Norio Tsuruta

Yogen * Norio Tsuruta * 2004


Another Japanese horror/thriller. The director of “Kakashi” and “Ringu 0” does not bring much news. There is no curse in “Yogen”, but people get premonitions in various ways, premonitions of things to come shortly, of course the premonitions are about people dying. The persons getting the premonitions get some kind of decease. “Yogen” has the typical Jap horror atmosphere, nice and gloomy, but here without extremely dark scenes or frights. To make the film more interesting (?) the end become all blurry with shifting viewpoints and storylines every three seconds. This does have some kind of function, but I don’t think it is too well done. Oh well, “Yogen” is a nice film, but like “Kakashi”, just nice, nothing special.

Ringu 0: Baasudei * Norio Tsuruta * 2000

After the tremendous succes of “Ringu” (an American remake even!) there was a sequel “Ringu 2” which I have yet to see (but will within the next days) and after the sequel there was a “prequel” “Ringu 0”. Chronologically this film comes before the original. There are several Ringu books that the films are based on, so however all these sequels are very Hollywoodish it is still somehow bearable. “Ringu 2” is by the original director, but “Ringu 0” is by the director of the wonderfull “Kakashi” (see elsewhere), but I found that out after I saw it, so I didn’t have too high hopes when I watched this film.

But, Ringu 0 proves to be about as good as the original. Not so dark in filming, but the same dense atmosphere, dark sounds that makes you definately have to see this on DVD and a slow building-up towards a great ending. The story is that of the girl from the well/drain that caused the curse. You can see how this shy girl moves to Tokio, makes problems that she can’t help and how she ends in the drain. The film is wonderfully made that you keep wondering what how when and especially why upto the last minutes. If you liked the original, see this one, if you haven’t seen any “The Ring” yet, be sure to see the originals!

Kakashi * Norio Tsuruta * 2001

I didn’t know this film, but I was caught by the beautiful cover of a cheap dvd-version that I saw. I have seen other Japanese films recently and was curious about this one. The director proved to be the same as who made “Ringu 0” which I haven’t seen, but the story was interesting enough to see how this would be.

A “Kakashi” is a scarecrow and is the name of a festival in a small village where the film plays. Kaoru goes to find her missing brother and the trace leeds to a small village called Kozukata. Most inhabitents seem not too happy with Kaoru but she persists in her quest to find her brother. The village is preparing the anual scarecrow festival which proves to be a festival to raise the dead. A scarecrow (or any human figure) is suppose to contain a soul and/or the soul of a dead person. With the festival some will try to regain their loved ones by drawin their souls into a scarecrow. The village seems to be full of ‘living’ scarecrows…

Like “Ringu” a moody horror without the splatter, but with a nice dense and dark atmosphere. Not brilliant, but the Japanese horrors do have something nice about them. Especially on dvd by the way, because a lot of the atmosphere comes from constant subsonic frequencies from your speakers!