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It Comes - Movie Poster
Original Title:

Japan 2018

Horror, Thriller, Drama

Tetsuya Nakashima

Satoshi Tsumabuki
Haru Kuroki
Junichi Okada
Nana Komatsu
Takako Matsu
Munetaka Aoki
Rie Shibata

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It Comes

It Comes - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Hideki (Satoshi Tsumabuki) and Kana (Haru Kuroki) get married. They seem to be a happy couple and pretty fortunate as Kana soon gets pregnant. Especially Hideki wanted to have a child for a long time and now he enthusiastically documents every single day of his little Chisa. Hideki's blog enjoys a lot of popularity and he seems to be a fantastic father. However, suddenly a demon walks abroad the family's apartment. Hideki knows this demon from his childhood days, it is called Bogiwan in common speech, and just before a childhood friend of his disappeared without a trace, she told Hideki that the demon will come after him next. The supernatural happenings in his apartment make Hideki ask a friend to get him in contact with Kon Nosaki (Junichi Okada). He knows a thing or two about the topic and brings in the shaman Makoto (Nana Komatsu). But despite various amulets and spells, the demon is untamable. At the same time, Hideki still tries to maintain the picture of a perfect family. Eventually, the demon gets more aggressive and things become a matter of life and death. Makoto's sister Kotoko (Takako Matsu) gets in touch and explains that Makoto's abilities are not enough to put a stop to the demon. At the moment, she is engaged otherwise, but she will soon take care of the issue personally. But it could already be too late then...

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It Comes - Film Screenshot 4

Review: When Tetsuya Nakashima shoots a horror movie, you can expect it to be visually brilliant and different from other movies of the genre. This is in fact the case, and it doesn't take long until the director's music video roots also make themselves noticeable. But does that style actually fit into a genre which tries to scare the audience through a dense atmosphere? At least, it is not in the way, which is what you might have expected first. In addition, the movie is indeed pretty eerie, even though you more than once get the feeling that we are actually dealing with a drama. In the end, the movie is not really convincing because the narrative perspective constantly changes its focus to another protagonist which gives the horror-drama something episodic and distances us emotionally from the characters. This even goes so far that, towards the end, the director loses sight of what he actually wants to tell.

It Comes - Film Screenshot 5

The beginning is rather slow-paced, at least for a Tetsuya Nakashima movie. In fact, we already know from the get-go that we are dealing with an invisible demon - one scene from a happening later on is shown to us at the beginning of the movie -, but then we get to see a marriage and the supposedly idyllic world of the couple with a cute daughter. "Supposedly" because, somehow we already know that Hideki, at the very least partly, creates this perfect world only for his friends and blog readers. But the threat of the demon grows bigger and bigger and soon we realize that we are dealing with a picture in the style of "Poltergeist". Pieces of furniture and objects are moving around and the demon is even able to cause physical pain. The amulets and magic spells represent another core element of the story: shamans and Shintoism. An interesting mixture, which is reminiscent of horror flicks like "The Wailing".

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However, "It Comes" does not follow a clear-cut course. This is because the movie, which is based on Ichi Sawamura's horror book, is not really subdivided into chapters but into different parts which each focus on a different character, and as soon as one storyline is finished, we get thrown into another individual's life. Even though we are already a little bit familiar with these characters, it always seems as if we are shown one introduction after the other. The movie's story always has a golden thread, but it actually consists of different threads which are then gradually woven together. In the process it is therefore not always easy to follow the details. Sometimes we get to see some foreshadowing and only realize much later what they meant, and other times we are simply left with unanswered questions. At times, this can be rather frustrating, especially because it makes the characters more mysterious and this prevents us from completely trusting them.

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Director Tetsuya Nakashima has already provided us with dark dramas like "The World of Kanako", but now we are without a doubt dealing with his most eerie work. When it comes to visual language, the director never restrains himself, which is the case with this movie as well. Some cuts and flashbacks, however, turned out too rough and the contrast this creates to those scenes which could have come right out of a music video is simply too extreme and oftentimes pulls you out of the story. In addition, some dream sequences are visually loaded and it is a pleasure to watch them, but the director's thumbprint is dominating the story too much. By itself, this could be overlooked as a point of criticism, but the finale shows an exorcism during which shamans fight against the demon in such an epic way that the images once more are simply too intense and don't focus on supporting the plot as they should. Therefore, the narrative thread gets lost and suddenly the audience is left completely disoriented.

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It Comes - Film Screenshot 10

Accordingly, the finale is the reason why "It Comes" crashes and burns. Because up until that point, you were actually eager to take the characters seriously. Satoshi Tsumabuki ("Rage") and the rest of the cast do actually portray interesting personalities, but Tetsuya Nakashima narrates his story with too serious of a tone on a scale which is far too big, or rather as mentioned before: His visuals are too exaggerated and therefore some things even turn out a little bit ridiculous. This can be seen in the overly strong use of colors and filters, as well as in the cuts - which try to work without any smooth transitions - and also some pretty bloody scenes. Unfortunately, the director doesn't seem to put his trust into the story he wants to tell. And yet parenthood and self-portrayal in new media are actually interesting focus points, which could have led to a fascinating horror story. In the end, it is the final act of the horror drama, which exponentiates the movie's problems and leaves us dissatisfied...

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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