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REVIEW: Creepy (Kurîpî: Itsuwari no rinjin)

– By VS

Takakura is a former detective. He receives a request from his ex-colleague, Nogami, to examine a missing family case that occurred 6 years earlier. Takakura follows Saki’s memory. She is the only surviving family member from the case. Meanwhile, Takakura and his wife Yasuko recently moved into a new home. Their neighbor, Nishino, has a sick wife and a young teen daughter. One day, the daughter, Mio, tells him that the man is not her father and she doesn’t know him at all.

That is what the official synopsis of the movie says. I also read some appreciating reviews about the movie. But according to me, it seems like Kurosawa lost his magic. This is a very average movie, nothing you haven’t seen before. The camera-work and acting is great but the movie and the whole plot was a huge letdown to me.

The first half is something like the vein of ‘Cure’ (Kurusawa’s 1997 movie): a former homicide detective and expert in criminal psychology takes a role as a lecturer following an attack by one of his suspects. Soon realizing – on what appears to be his first day – that the life of an academic isn’t quite as fast-paced, he starts to look at an unsolved case, from a purely research perspective, he tells his wife.

It is here he uncovers a mysterious story of a family that disappears, leaving only the daughter behind; a daughter that can’t remember anything. All this is being played alongside the middle-aged Takakura and his wife moving to a new neighbourhood, next to one neighbour that makes it very clear they couldn’t give a damn about you; the other, the slightly odd Nishino, played by strange-faced Teruyuki Kagawa.

The film becomes pretty predictable about halfway through, from the point where Mio tells the ex-detective “He’s not my father”, but there are some holes large enough to drive a semi through with room for a few compact cars beside. Like…

a) if Mio was so concerned about the fate of her mother, why didn’t she go to the police?
b) if we assume the junior detective was killed by the deranged psycho, how did the body wind up in the torched house next door?
c) why was the ex-detective’s wife unwilling to tell her husband about the psycho getting her hooked on drugs?
d) when she had the opportunity, why didn’t Mio kill the psycho?

Creepy is long, repetitive, leaves itself wide open, and has characters whose motives are just as muddled and confused as the green-light given this thing in the first place.

There are much better films than Creepy in Japanese cinema!

 

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