Film Review: The Inerasable

A refreshingly smart ghost story
Film Review : “A refreshingly smart ghost story”

The Inerasable

What if the haunted house wasn’t haunted at all but it was the space that the house existed on. That’s the premise that director Yoshihiro Nakamura’s takes in “The Inerasable”. The film, based on a bestselling novel by Fuyumi Ono makes its world premier at the Tokyo International Film Festival competing in the competition section, which is rare for a horror film.

The film isn’t an adrenaline pumping, shock inducing horror film but rather it’s a mystery-suspense with supernatural and horror elements. It has similarities to the “Scream” movie franchise in the sense that the main characters are smart and self aware of how hauntings are supposed to work. J-horror isn’t big on the slashers as something frightening, they are more into the creepy, atmospheric, ghost or curse stories and this film follows suit. Unlike some other J-horror classics though, in this one the characters and in turn audience aren’t necessarily scared by the ghosts or curses. This film asks the viewer to accept the supernatural world as fact then follow our main characters in collecting clues to reveal the origin of all the trouble.

The plot revolves around a female writer of serial ghost stories (Yuko Takeuchi). Her stories are based on submissions from readers who write to her based on their personal experiences. She receives a number of letters from a female college student, Kubo-san, (played by Ai Hashimoto) whose apartment appears to be haunted. As the two meet up and explore the situation further they discover other apartments in her building with similar issues. When they trace the history of not only Kubo’s current apartment building, but buildings that existed in the same space long before, they start to discover some disturbing history.

As the pair dig further, striving to unearth the root of the hauntings they receive help from our writer’s husband Naoto (Kenichi Takito) and a group of Kubo’s classmates who are part of a mystery club at their university. It struck me as a bit odd a group of college girls seem to be having fun tracking horrors of the past, but I digress.

The film is fairly suspenseful throughout complimented by good performances from our lead actresses Yuko Takeuchi and Ai Hashimoto. The story gets a little convoluted in the final act as our ghost hunters chase the mystery around the country, however things never get too unbelievable or silly. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura does a good job in delivering a smart self-aware horror flick in his return to the genre that he found success with in 2005′s “The Booth” and 2002′s smash “Dark Water”. The film should appeal to fans who may be a little jaded with their horror. It’s a fresh self aware take on the genre where the people are running towards the ghosts instead of away.

This one score a 3.7 smashes out of 5.

*Image copyright “The Inerasable” Film Partners.

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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

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