Ryoji is kind to a quiet girl, Asaji, who is being picked
on at school. The good deed immediately comes back to haunt
him when her crush on him reaches dangerous levels. She begins
to stalk him, and her knowledge of him is far beyond being
healthy. Ryoji is further unsettled when Asaji appears to
him in dreams, and as a brief apparition when he is on stage
playing in his brother's rock band. Ryoji is forced to take
matters into his own hands when his girlfriend, Mariko, is
threatened. Mariko phones Ryoji asking for help, but Asaji
is with him. She can't be in two places at once, can she...?
and her mother move into a new apartment, after a series of
deaths have happened in the houses progressively leading up
to their own. However, she meets Kazuhiko taking pictures
of the buildings, and he tells her that people have been injured
or killed in the apartments on each floor ending in "05".
Naoko is in 505. Almost immediately strange events begin to
occur. A large, mysterious and immovable block of concrete
sits on the balcony, the closet door opens and closes of its
own accord, revealing what Naoko at first believes are hallucinations
of a tragic little girl. When her mother is hospitalised,
Naoko becomes increasingly cut off, with her only help coming
the synopses above suggests, this film is in fact two unrelated
stories linked by the two brothers Ryoji and Kazuhiko. Ghostly
tales are something the Japanese seem to handle preternaturally
well. It's possible they realise at present only one aspect
of horror remains skin-crawlingly creepy, the others being
entertainment using violence, psychotic madmen or the shock
tactics of loud noises and sudden movements. Of course, I'm
talking about the Ghost Story; something from the past which
affects the here and now. If scripted and directed well and
kept simple, there's simply no comparison to its effectiveness.
two hour-long segments here, individually titled Shadow
of the Wraith and The Stone Sky respectively, are
definitely not in the same league as the original Japanese
versions of The Ring films or even The Grudge;
if I'm finicky both stories would have benefited from tightening-up,
and better music would have improved the tension considerably.
For a master class on Eastern creepiness check out The
Eye. However, Shadow is a worthy contribution into
an increasingly expanding sub-genre. The spooky young pale-faced
Japanese woman is fast becoming a recognisable ikon image.
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