Thursday, November 16, 2006

Art Through Random Number Generation.

Ju On 2
2000, Japan
Takashi Shimizu

I think I've seen this movie before. And not only that, I think I've already reviewed it. Not that it really matters, because Japanese horror movies are just visual gibberish anyway. They're like staring into a cloud bank; every time you do, you see something different, and it's always boring. I'm not sure why that is. They certainly have creepy moments in them, or rather moments that should be creepy, and yet I feel nothing when confronted with the myriad horrors presented in these types of films. Wait, did I say 'myriad'? Because I meant 'solitary': girl with long hair. I don't really understand how a 7 year old kid is supposed to make me afraid of anything but getting grape juice mixed with wine on my bedspread when I’m pouring Jesus juice down their throats, but the Japanese seem to have an irrational fear of youth without bangs.

The first Ju-On didn't really make any sense. Or rather, it was so unbearably simple, it lost all cohesion and turned into what happens when you boil potatoes too long. The movie was a sentence, and a simple one at that: There's a haunted house, and everyone who goes inside it dies. Sometimes, people who don't go inside it die, allowing that one causal link to fade away, and the thread of narrative unity connecting the various segments of the film to tangle into a knot of nonsense even Lewis Carroll couldn't untie. Ju-On 2 is no different, but this time the fact that the Japanese tell a story like a toddler explaining string theory actually works for the film, instead of transforming it into an exercise in narrative futility. The sentence explaining the film remains the same, but this time director Takashi Shimizu plays with temporality as well as linearity, messing with the chronology of the both the film and the story. Of course, this interplay between the diegetic world and the film's structure is probably unintentional, as the only Japanese films that I've ever seen that were any good whatsoever seemed to be watchable only accidentally, like monkeys throwing shit at a wall that eventually resembles Whistler's Arrangement In Grey And Black.

If you look closely, you'll discover chimps are mainly vegetarian.

There's no progression from the last film to this one, save some technical improvement and a greater sense of desperation in some of the scares. Some of them work, and some of them don't, but all in all it's a step up from the first film, which essentially consisted of a woman crawling around while croaking like a cross between a death rattle and Tom Waits' singing voice. There's also a little kid ghost, because North American government regulations require either a spooky child or a samurai before a film can be imported from Japan. Some other crap happens, and every once in a while, the shit drips down the wall until I can see Munch's The Scream.


Blogger nijaz said...

The Japanese are full of mystery. A mystery that's scary. Something like Sigourney Weaver. Like she might have a penis hanging somewhere.

Well a trip to Nipponland compounds the fear. Everybody is so courteous and polite, and then you reach the hotel, switch the TV on, find out that the remote had another mysterious button that turned on another set of channels (not pay) and showed their liking of violence, blood and gore. And then the porn.

And then you're scared to order room service.

6:33 a.m.  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

I hate The Scream therefore I hate this movie already because it planted that in your head.

I saw a japanese movie here that didn't have a little kid, a samurai OR a giant monster rampaging through Tokyo in it.

It had a girl, and a kite, and a yakuza guy.....and I THINK she crawled around his apartment with a vibrator up her ass before he made her get it on with another girl (who didn't have a kite) and then she banged a British business man right before the Yakuza guy raped her and then strangled her to death.

Good movie.

9:20 a.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...


Nijaz, you've just made Japan my number one tourist destination, after that cool little brothel in Thailand from Human Trafficking/

12:00 p.m.  
Blogger nijaz said...

I also forgot to tell you that I think the kimonos are so big that there is space for a little animal to be strapped in between the legs and wag its tounge. Fast. So fast that one don't actually see the tongue.

Please don't call the movers now.

2:41 p.m.  

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