Time has been very kind to Hideo Nakata’s sublime, quietly terrifying 1997 techno-horror, re-released for Halloween night (see more Halloween screenings on page 79). Time, coupled with the fact that 99 per cent of the ensuing copycat Asian (and often then US remade) chillers have been rather naff. Here, the thrilling, simple conceit is that of a haunted VHS tape: watch it, and you’ll snuff it within a week. The film follows a divorced journalist as she travels around the country, desperately trying to uncover the tape’s mysteries, a task which becomes even more urgent when her young son accidentally watches it. Seeing it again, you can’t help but notice the stylistic parallels to the David Lynch of ‘Mullholland Dr.’ and ‘Inland Empire’, especially with its use of distorted imagery, creeping camera movements and avant-garde sound effects. The finale, too, still feels as twisted, bizarre and down-right nightmarish as it did all those years ago.
Friday October 31 2008
Cast and crew