Sadako vs Kayako (2016)

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Cast:  Mizuki Yamamoto, Aimi satsukawa, Tina Tamashiro, Masanobu Ando
Director:  Koji Shiraishi
Nutshell:  The “Curse Video” is back along with Sadako, Kayako, Toshio and the Grudge Horror House in an entertaining clash of Malevolent forces.

 

It’s been a while and horror hasn’t really found a new bag of tricks since the heady days of the “curse video” that was spawned by what must be deemed a true modern horror classic: Hideo Nakata’s RINGU that featured one of the most heart-stopping moments in horror movie history as well as an idea that was novel, intriguing and devilishly wicked fun.

The 90’s closed with Nakata’s film breathing new life into a tired, exhausted and stale genre simply recycling and regurgitating formulas over and over again.  Along comes Ring and horror discovers a new dimension of fear and imagery rejuvenating a tired genre and presenting the world of horror with a new monster; a new atrocity in the form of the memorable, broken figure than emerged from the well: Sadako.  Ringu’s influence was almost immediate and the first wave of variants arrived in the form of The Grudge; a film that was creepy, effective and also contained some memorable imagery and sounds.

Sadako vs Kayako opens in present day Japan at a university where a lecturer is discussing “urban legends” including the cursed video and jokingly mocks the idea inviting his students to discover the notorious curse video which he would be delighted to pay a good price for.  Two of his students who spend most of his lecture half asleep decide to take a trip to an old junk shop where they find an old VCR and when one of the girls handles it, her hand comes away with strands of black hair which is definitely not a good omen.  However she disregards this and they head off home and when they plug the machine in they are surprised to find that there is already a video in the machine which sets their imaginations and their pulse racing just a little bit.

Meanwhile in the very opening scene we have a social worker on a visit to an old woman in her flat.  She knocks and knocks but there is no response.  As she investigates inside she discovers the body of the old lady with a wire coiled around her neck; dead.  Her shock is compounded when a video suddenly flickers on to the screen and she watches it unknowingly and after its over, the inevitable phone rings and she is marked by the curse and death is a certainty unless she follows the rules of which she is blissfully unaware.

The owners of the pawn shop where the old VCR was sold are disturbed to find that one of their employees had found a video tape and watched it because there have been some inexplicable and appalling deaths and no one knows exactly why.  Moments later the employee throws herself off the top of the shop and crashes onto the cold stone floor dead.

Could it be that the curse is back?  It certainly seems that way.  Meanwhile the two young university students gingerly start to watch the video in their flat but while it plays one of the girls Yuri receives a phone call that diverts her attention.  Her friend watches the video in its entirety and true to the curse, the phone rings and a shrill ringing sound is heard, chilling to the bone.  The girl Natsumi is convinced of the tapes authenticity and realizes that unless she can find a solution she too will be damned to die in 48 hours.  Now the race is on to find a way to stop the curse from completing its cycle of death and they turn to their professor and university for help.

At the same time in another part of town a small family including teenaged daughter Suzuka are moving to a new home but little do they know that the neighbours house is infested with the spirit of Kayako and Toshio from the Grudge (Ju-on) films.  Kayako the ghastly figure who crawls along the floor in a typically broken staccato style as she strikes out at her victims emitting that awful croaking sound.  Toshio is the little white faced ghostly kid who pops up everywhere causing death and mayhem, elongating necks and snapping necks along the way.

Yuri is taken by her professor to try to break the curse to an Exorcist but her powers are no match for the malevolence and the session ends up with corpses littering the venue, necks horribly snapped.  As she fades away the exorcist tells Yuri to seek the help of a duo composed of a young blind girl with ESP and her partner a young man with powers not unlike those possessed by Rajnikant in many of his movies.  With the swish of a hand he is able to impart almost magical abilities that come in very handy in fighting the dreadful predicament they are faced with.

Finally as the threat mounts and Suzuka’s parents meet a horrendous fate, the only way out appears to somehow set the stage by which the dreaded evil can be pitted against one another in the hope that they will destroy each others evil in a battle of supremacy.

Natsumi meanwhile attempts to take her own life but is beaten to it by a visit by the ghastly apparition of Sadako and another hideous hairy situation follows.  Hastily the video player is set up in Kayako’s home and Yuri has to draw the two evil powers out and make them confront each other and hope that the evil is vanquished as the two forces collide in an ultimate clash of horrors.

Will they succeed in their endeavor or will they fail to vanquish the forces of malevolent evil?  Will Sadako prevail or will Kayako and Toshio prove sterner adversaries.  All is revealed in a stunning showdown between the two and if the plan works they are to be drawn by Yuri into the well and trapped there for ever after.

Needless to say, the end is a  very hairy situation in more ways than one and the consequences of the experiment to crush the horror doesn’t go quite according to plan.

The film revives the two enormously successful franchises in Freddy Vs Jason style and puts on quite a spectacle but it does it have the fear factor of of the initial Ringu or Ju-on series?  Maybe not but it is an entertaining ride all the same and has enough humour to keep things from getting to dark.  Things are handled with more than a pinch of salt and some of the dialog is delivered with poker faced seriousness but undercut with obvious doses of humour which lightens the mood and keeps the film from getting overly serious.

Horror hasn’t really found a new direction of late and the torture porn thing is both excessive, repetitive and more than a little brain numbing on occasion so Sadako vs Kayako comes as a delightfully whimsical little experience, not perhaps anywhere near  as terrifying as its predecessors but certainly almost as enjoyable.  With Rings right around the corner, the world should be ready to welcome back Sadako from her enforced sabbatical.  Good fun, if unlikely to give anybody nightmares like the initial Ringu was more than capable of – money and time well spent.

It’s been a while and horror hasn’t really found a new bag of tricks since the heady days of the “curse video” that was spawned by what must be deemed a true modern horror classic: Hideo Nakata’s RINGU that featured one of the most heart-stopping moments in horror movie history as well as an idea that was novel, intriguing and devilishly wicked fun.

The 90’s closed with Nakata’s film breathing new life into a tired, exhausted and stale genre simply recycling and regurgitating formulas over and over again. Along comes Ring and horror discovers a new dimension of fear and imagery rejuvenating a tired genre and presenting the world of horror with a new monster; a new atrocity in the form of the memorable, broken figure than emerged from the well: Sadako. Ringu’s influence was almost immediate and the first wave of variants arrived in the form of The Grudge; a film that was creepy, effective and also contained some memorable imagery and sounds.

Sadako vs Kayako opens in present day Japan at a university where a lecturer is discussing “urban legends” including the cursed video and jokingly mocks the idea inviting his students to discover the notorious curse video which he would be delighted to pay a good price for. Two of his students who spend most of his lecture half asleep decide to take a trip to an old junk shop where they find an old VCR and when one of the girls handles it, her hand comes away with strands of black hair which is definitely not a good omen. However she disregards this and they head off home and when they plug the machine in they are surprised to find that there is already a video in the machine which sets their imaginations and their pulse racing just a little bit.

Meanwhile in the very opening scene we have a social worker on a visit to an old woman in her flat. She knocks and knocks but there is no response. As she investigates inside she discovers the body of the old lady with a wire coiled around her neck; dead. Her shock is compounded when a video suddenly flickers on to the screen and she watches it unknowingly and after its over, the inevitable phone rings and she is marked by the curse and death is a certainty unless she follows the rules of which she is blissfully unaware.

The owners of the pawn shop where the old VCR was sold are disturbed to find that one of their employees had found a video tape and watched it because there have been some inexplicable and appalling deaths and no one knows exactly why. Moments later the employee throws herself off the top of the shop and crashes onto the cold stone floor dead.

Could it be that the curse is back? It certainly seems that way. Meanwhile the two young university students gingerly start to watch the video in their flat but while it plays one of the girls Yuri receives a phone call that diverts her attention. Her friend watches the video in its entirety and true to the curse, the phone rings and a shrill ringing sound is heard, chilling to the bone. The girl Natsumi is convinced of the tapes authenticity and realizes that unless she can find a solution she too will be damned to die in 48 hours. Now the race is on to find a way to stop the curse from completing its cycle of death and they turn to their professor and university for help.

At the same time in another part of town a small family including teenaged daughter Suzuka are moving to a new home but little do they know that the neighbours house is infested with the spirit of Kayako and Toshio from the Grudge (Ju-on) films. Kayako the ghastly figure who crawls along the floor in a typically broken staccato style as she strikes out at her victims emitting that awful croaking sound. Toshio is the little white faced ghostly kid who pops up everywhere causing death and mayhem, elongating necks and snapping necks along the way.

Yuri is taken by her professor to try to break the curse to an Exorcist but her powers are no match for the malevolence and the session ends up with corpses littering the venue, necks horribly snapped. As she fades away the exorcist tells Yuri to seek the help of a duo composed of a young blind girl with ESP and her partner a young man with powers not unlike those possessed by Rajnikant in many of his movies. With the swish of a hand he is able to impart almost magical abilities that come in very handy in fighting the dreadful predicament they are faced with.

Finally as the threat mounts and Suzuka’s parents meet a horrendous fate, the only way out appears to somehow set the stage by which the dreaded evil can be pitted against one another in the hope that they will destroy each others evil in a battle of supremacy.

Natsumi meanwhile attempts to take her own life but is beaten to it by a visit by the ghastly apparition of Sadako and another hideous hairy situation follows. Hastily the video player is set up in Kayako’s home and Yuri has to draw the two evil powers out and make them confront each other and hope that the evil is vanquished as the two forces collide in an ultimate clash of horrors.

Will they succeed in their endeavor or will they fail to vanquish the forces of malevolent evil? Will Sadako prevail or will Kayako and Toshio prove sterner adversaries. All is revealed in a stunning showdown between the two and if the plan works they are to be drawn by Yuri into the well and trapped there for ever after.

Needless to say, the end is a very hairy situation in more ways than one and the consequences of the experiment to crush the horror doesn’t go quite according to plan.

The film revives the two enormously successful franchises in Freddy Vs Jason style and puts on quite a spectacle but it does it have the fear factor of of the initial Ringu or Ju-on series? Maybe not but it is an entertaining ride all the same and has enough humour to keep things from getting to dark. Things are handled with more than a pinch of salt and some of the dialog is delivered with poker faced seriousness but undercut with obvious doses of humour which lightens the mood and keeps the film from getting overly serious.

Horror hasn’t really found a new direction of late and the torture porn thing is both excessive, repetitive and more than a little brain numbing on occasion so Sadako vs Kayako comes as a delightfully whimsical little experience, not perhaps anywhere near as terrifying as its predecessors but certainly almost as enjoyable. With Rings right around the corner, the world should be ready to welcome back Sadako from her enforced sabbatical. Good fun, if unlikely to give anybody nightmares like the initial Ringu was more than capable of – money and time well spent.