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Creepy - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Kuripi Itsuwari no Rinjin

Japan 2016

Mystery, Horror

Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Hidetoshi Nishijima
Yuko Takeuchi
Teruyuki Kagawa
Ryoko Fujino
Haruna Kawaguchi
Masahiro Higashide
Masahiro Toda
Takashi Sasano
Misaki Saisho

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Creepy - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) moves into a new house with his wife Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi). The two want to get closer to their neighbors, but especially Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa) seems to be a very strange fellow. Still, Takakura puts his wife's mind at ease, by telling her that most killers are actually quite nice neighbors. Despite Nishino's warning to leave him be, she still tries to get to know him better, while her husband stumbles upon an interesting case at his work as a university professor for crime investigation. Six years ago, a family vanished without a trace and the sole survivor, Saki (Haruna Kawaguchi), made the detectives categorize the unsolved case as a murder case. Takakura wants to know why and is soon approached by detective Nogami (Masahiro Higashide) who also has an interest in the case. Together they interrogate Saki again and get some new information. Meanwhile, Nishino asks Takakura to tell his wife that he just wants to be left in peace. Shortly thereafter he seems to be more conciliatory, though, and even eats with his daughter Mio (Ryoko Fujino) at Takakura's. But one day his daughter suddenly tells the professor that the neighbor isn't really his father...

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Review: It's hard to take a horror movie serious that is titled "Creepy". At best, we get a decent horror flick which doesn't take itself too serious, you might assume. But the director behind the movie is Kiyoshi Kurosawa after all. Accordingly, you should in fact expect quite a creepy movie. And that's also what the director delivers. However, there are no ghosts, zombies, monsters or killings committed with a machete or the like which create the horror. It is one single man. A neighbor we don't know what to think of for quite a while. Still, we instantly realize that there is something wrong about him. What the story most importantly pulls off is that we always know a little bit more than the professor. We also get a glance into the mind of the neighbor through the eyes of the wife and thus quite soon get a clear picture of him being surely a serial killer.

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The investigation of another case parellely under way seems to be detached from the neighbor to such an extent that we can't help but establish a connection between Nishino and the six year old case right away. And there are no suprises in this respect. The premonition of the professor during one of his lectures that the category of serial killers who act with a plan and spontanously at the same time are the most difficult to analyze also draws the lines of the events unfolding in advance. The horror in "Creepy" instead is built on a tense atmosphere while we approach the mental abyss of humans. And interestingly enough not just that of Nishino. The story based on a novel of Yutaka Maekawa has most importantly motives like loneliness and emptiness in its focus, as is nothing new from the director, and imposes it on the contruct of family.

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In the end, it's not just Nishino who behaves odd. Yasuko continues trying to get closer to the neighbor who has already shown quite some peculiar character traits. Yuko Takeuchi ("Be With You", "Strawberry Night") is at first only allowed to play a simple housewife, but as the film progresses she shows more and more aspects of her character and with one certain scene towards the end she also creates the most touching moment. Hidetoshi Nishijima ("Genome Hazard") also delivers a convincing portrayal, but can't keep up the quality at all during the long shots which are so typical for the director. Kiyoshi Kurosawa tends to make his actors look somewhaat odd and artificial during those scenes, as if being part of a stage play with only semi-professional actors involved. Teruyuki Kagawa ("Rurouni Kenshin", "Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler") on the other hand easily walks the fine line of madness and even oversteps it, which is even the more impressive since his character actually lacks any three-dimensionality.

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However, it really gets interesting when it comes to the movie's mood, because this isn't your typical horror film. The tension concerning what we are about to find out about the individuals and their secrets as well as the many mysteries that become apparent in the interaction between the neighbors, create a very tense and creepy atmosphere. Contrary to what we have seen in Kurosawa's "Pulse" for example the horror here doesn't have its roots in the loneliness of a nightmarish twilight reality, but in the collapse of a family, the alienation taking place within it and the fact that this family thus becomes vulnerable to someone like Hoshino. The pictures are clearly taking a backseat. There are no flashy tricks or any sorts of jump-out-of-your-chair moments. Everything is captured in a very dry manner, which makes the mandatory cellar with plastic bags even the more terrifying.

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Since the film is based on a mystery novel this pychological horror flick is rather straightforward and also features a clear resolution. That's something you are not really used to see from the director, but it makes the movie easily accessable and also more satisfying. There are a few moments when the behavior of the individuals maybe isn't that comprehensible or explanations are linked to an allmighty drug, but a movie just doesn't have the scope for the kind of explanations a book can give and yet Kurosawa takes his time with telling his story. This pays off and thanks to a thrillingly written story things never get boring. Despite a few negative aspects - a few story details are still foggy even after the credits - this is an exceptional horror movie that adapts the motive of the scary neighbor nicely and delivers well captured psychological horror.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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