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Sadako vs Kayako film review


Directed by: Kôji Shiraishi

Written by: Takashi Shimizu, Kôji Shiraishi, Kôji Suzuki

Starring: Mizuki Yamamoto, Aimi Satsukawa, Tina Tamashiro and Masanobu Ando

Throwback Film Review by: Rachel Pullen


Sadako vs Kayako (2016) Film Review

Sadako vs Kayako film review
Sadako vs Kayako film review

Recently I have been flexing on the old Japanese horror. There is something about how polite and clean everything over there is that helps me forget for a moment about the hellscape that the U.K. is, and not only that but they have a good selection of horror flicks under their belts, no one does creepy ghost girls quite like they do.

Of course, the most famous horror films to come from Japan have to be the Ring series and the Grudge series (foolish choice, personally Shutter is where the real joy is!) ghostly girls with long hair wreaking havoc on a bunch of unsuspecting people through a curse because they got upset 100 years ago, yeah that sells big in Japan. And overseas apparently because the remakes of both these franchises popped off over here and, in the U.S.A.,

So, with that in mind, writers churned out sequel after sequel, and once that had run its course, they furrowed their brows and tapped their heads and screamed….”Eureka! What if we smash both the films together to make some weird hybrid storyline where the two ghost ladies fight each other?”. Yeah it got the green light and yeah I watched it.

Sadako vs Kayako is the tale of a bunch of young ladies who cross paths with both the curses from our lady ghosts simultaneously, university students Yuri Kurahashi and Natsumi Ueno discover the tape in an old VCR and one of them watches it. But hold up! Sadako is not splashing around in her normal well, she is on the property ladder it seems, this time appearing in a run-down house…clearly a fixer-upper.

Because she is so overwhelmed with D.I.Y jobs to do in her new home, Sadako has cut the curse time down from the normal seven days to a light two, leaving our students in a race against time to lift the curse.

They talk to their professor, he gets them some witch lady, she does nothing and gets killed in the process, but does bring a key player into the game, our resident curse defeater Keizo! (I assume that’s what his job title is on LinkedIn). He knows stuff, has a cool leather jacket on, hangs out with a blind psychic child, the guy’s a dreamboat, but most importantly he is like “Let’s lift this curse by making Sadako fight another ghost, that will work.” and everyone is like “Makes sense” and they roll out.

Now while all this is taking place, the movie has been running a subplot about a young woman called Suzuka Takagi who after moving to the town, feels drawn to the house where the Grudge curse took place, literally through the movie she just floats around near the house, toying with going in, but not, having straight hair, then not. Really I felt that for a B storyline it was so disassociated from the film itself it was like I was channel surfing between two shows. Later it becomes more tied into one when Suzuka meets characters from the Sadako storyline, but literally, for an hour of the film, it feels unconnected to an alarming degree.

Overall, this movie is not bad, it’s not great, it’s just meh, sadly I think the lack of connection between the two storylines up until the showdown at the end kind of took away anything that may have drawn certain fans to see the film. I wanted to see these angry ladies really go at it, taunt each other out, fight for custody of people they want to kill, think Freddy vs Jason, a film which yes, sucked, but is a good example of what they could have done with the characters in this film, i.e. create a dynamic.

Other than that, Sadako vs Kayako does not lack the classic spooky scares that Japanese horror brings to the screen, and as always, each moment that either Sadako or Kayako are on screen, the tension and chilling fear is perfectly executed.

So, what have we learned this week?

  • Despite the thousands of ghosts, I would rather live in Japan than the U.K.

  • If Sadako can get on the property ladder, there is hope for us all.

  • If you find a VHS player with an unmarked tape in it, just walk away.

Watch the Film Trailer



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