Directed by: #ShaneRyan
Oni-gokko is a Japanese short directed by Shane Ryan. The story involves a game of tag taking a deadly turn and soon becoming the grisly end for two sisters. It is the torment and guilt looming over this story which makes for an exciting watch, as well as the hauntingly cold spirit of sister Aki. A chilling film that disturbs the senses and conjures an unnerving sensation throughout.
There is very little background given to the storyline, apart from the title being Oni-gokko, meaning ‘tag’ in Japanese. The audience are left in the dark for a majority of the film and can only assume that this small game of tag just got completely out of hand, clearly a tricky game to win that’s for certain! Nevertheless, it was an interesting premise and being a horror it did pose for an uncomfortable watch. Even the appearance of the two characters projected this death-like feel, it was their two pale, skeletal bodies and the presence of blood splattered across each of them which sent a cold tremor down my spine.
The ghostly form of the sister gave this film the drive it needed to be pushed into the horror genre. Mariko Miyamitsu (Aki) certainly brought fear and an unsettling atmosphere to the table. However, it can be debated as to whether the tormented sister, Eri Akita, can truly be seen as the most suitable actor for the role at hand. It was difficult to see a relationship between the two siblings mainly because it seemed as though there wasn’t any real sadness, merely guilt of her actions and the consequences that have arisen from them. Without that form of connection between the two, it made her character seem less believable as well as her performance lacking that fear most would convey when faced with the ghostly presence of their late sibling.
The story had some awkward pauses in places, and the nudity although unusual and chilling, did seem rather unnecessary, especially because it did not add a whole lot of depth to the scene itself. Perhaps it can be argued if this should be taken out of the film altogether? Would this change the dynamics of the film? Who knows! If I were to counter this argument, the presence of razors, blood and the naked body does indeed make me cringe and shudder at the very thought of this lethal combination, so perhaps it was needed to produce this scaremongering reaction we horror fans thrive off of.
Oni-gokko created an intense viewing experience for the audience to absorb. Although the story had a bit of a slow pace in some scenes, the visual aspect of the film was extremely engaging and sucked the audience in; discovering more about the ghostly figure who proceeds to haunt over her sister with guilt and shame. Oni-gokko was well edited and allowed the story to unfold, revealing bit by bit the hidden secrets which paved the way for a dramatic ending! A good watch for avid horror fans.