LIFF30 Review: Creepy – a neighborly horror

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A pinch of neighborly xenophobia, a touch of imminent terror and a dash of skillful casting only begin to describe director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s recent J-horror ‘Creepy,’ which premiered at LIFF 2016 on the 15th of November. A troubled ex-detective named Takakura recovers from a failed investigation of a psychopath’s escape, a case that haplessly results in him forfeiting his profession. He eventually becomes a lecturer at a university, successfully relocating with his wife to a new home. It’s at this point that the combination of the grim, bleak cinematography of the green Nipponese landscape, and the blank stargazing characters grips the audience with an overall sentiment of decay. If Baz Luhrmann’s artistic style consists of a kaleidoscope of colours and visual chaos, then Kurosawa’s approach to directing falls on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, capitalising rather on the robust and intricate characterisation of his actors.

The combination of the grim, bleak cinematography of the green Nipponese landscape, and the blank stargazing characters grips the audience with an overall sentiment of decay.

The disturbingly eccentric neighbour, Nishino, who conceals everything about his life, maintains a façade, most memorable for his ear-to-ear, teeth-exposing smile. Takakura, with his quaint home just adjacent to his neighbour’s block, gets wrapped up in an unsolved criminal investigation. Familial disintegration, coupled with a harrowing sense of mental inertia, gives the effect that Takakura is fighting a losing battle against a force he hasn’t completely comprehended. Playing less like a whodunit, and more as a slow-burning dramatic thriller, the film navigates seamlessly through Nishino’s home as a twisted captor, with the lack of culpability to ever apprehend him.

Fans of Joel Edgerton’s The Gift would enjoy this limited release production of a Japanese film, delving into the psyches of the vulnerable and opportunistic. This triumph of a film affirms that there are still quality Friday night flicks that aren’t appearing on our Netflix queues.

Varun Madan

Image courtesy of Shockiku

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