Tomie
Starring:
Miho Kanno, Mami Nakamura, Yoriko Douguchi, Tomoro Taguchi
Directed By:
Ataru Oikawa
Grade
D+

Tomie is a strange film. Strange and slow.

A young high school girl by the name of Tomie has been murdered, but her body is nowhere to be found. Odd thing is, though, that she's not the first girl named Tomie that has had this happen. Over the years, many girls by the name Tomie have been murdered. In connection with this last murder is a girl by the name of Tsukiko (Mami Nakamura), who has no recollection of the brutal slaying. As she visits her psychotherapist for help with her sleeping problems, a detective (Tomoro Taguchi) follows his case to the same doctor in hopes of finding out more about Tomie and her connection with Tsukiko.

It won't take too long (well, actually it does seem to take forever...) before you come to realize what's going on (and even then, some of the story is leads to wonder what's going on). Tomie is a demon in female form who turns the men she's near into rampaging violent psychopaths, often leaving a brutal wake of violence in their path. Because Tsukiko was there when Tomie was last murdered, Tomie has become obsessed with her, forcing herself into Tsukiko's life.

While the concept behind the story promises to be potentially disturbing, the execution leaves A LOT to be desired. First and foremost, the acting is spotty, at best. Some of the actors are pretty bland and play to some ridiculously lame stereotypes. Others try their hardest to fill in their roles and tend to be hit-or-miss in their deliveries. Some are just so outlandishly mediocre that it's unintentionally funny to watch them mangle their lines. The direction is pretty by-the-numbers and doesn't offer anything that's overly new to the genre. You won't find yourself amazed by how anything is shot and the horror of the film is given to you matter-of-factly.

These lackluster elements only makes the story of the film even more annoying. Plainly stated, the plot is flimsy and full of plot holes. A LOT of plot holes. It seems to drag on for a while before anything really gets moving, and when it does, the story fails to land and then just flails about carelessly as it reaches the end. I'd say that it might prove to be a "head scratcher" if I actually thought the plot was worth the time to think about. The script-writer sure didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking things through.

If you're looking for a horror flicks along the lines of Ringu, you might want to rent this one. I wouldn't make any effort to go hunt it down as it fails to be anything other than odd and a bit gory towards the end. The cast is lackluster and the whole film takes too long to get anywhere good. Skip it and just watch Ringu again.

- - Vane

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