Tomie (1999)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 10, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Hard Corps (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 1.77:1 (16:9 enhanced). Japanese DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 94 minutes
The Movie
Director: Ataru Oikawa
Starring: Miho Kanno, Mami Nakamura, Yoriko Douguchi, Tomorowo
Taguchi Screenplay: Ataru Oikawa
Tagline: Tomie will not die!
Country: Japan
Trained as a dental technician, Junji Ito had always yearned to be a horror comic writer and artist. For several years he balanced his work as a dent-tech, with his hobby until eventually, the success of his manga turned his hobby into a successful business, his fame increasing once he won the Umezu prize for horror manga. One of his regular storylines is the cause and effects of beauty…its joy, its jealousies and its destruction. Probably equally well known for his bizarre three part story Uzumaki, Junji ito's Tomie has garnered much attention, not just due to his excellent manga, but also from the seven movies it has spawned, them being made in the wake of Ringu's success..

Tomie tells the tale of Tsukiko Isumisawa (Mami Nakamura), who, after a violent accident in her past suffers from amnesia and has haunting nightmares that seem to be trying to give her hints to her past. She has regular hypnotherapy sessions with her doctor, Dr Hosono (Yoriko Douguchi), but to no avail. The apartment block she lives in has a new tenant in the apartment directly below. He is a young student who arrives with nothing but a small plastic bag, the contents of which are a mystery that can only be identified by a malevolent human eye that stares form within. These stories all come to a head when a policeman, Detective Harada (Tomorowo Taguchi) questions the doctor about her patient and her relationship with a murdered girl named Tomie (Miho Kanno).

This film has been adapted and directed by Ataru Oikawa, who did two others in the series. This film suffers from a massive problem…it is S…L…O…W, and tragically the payoff isn't worth the tedious journey getting there. The real shame is that Miho Kanno, from Eko Eko Azarak, is totally wasted in the title role and is wearing a really bad wig which gives the movie a look as if had a K-Mart budget of $27.99.
The anamorphic picture, presented in a 1.77:1 aspect ratio, was quite dodgy at times, pixellating smack bang in the middle of the screen for example, and all the 'dark' scenes were almost indefinable. I am not sure if that was the design of the filmmaker, or a bad transfer.
The audio is all over the shop; at times some of the sound appears to have been laid over the top of the final track and doesn't sit well at all. It is all quite clear, though at times I must say I was thankful for subtitles.
Extra Features
This disc has the trailers for all five Tomie films: Tomie, Tomie Replay, Tomie Rebirth, Tomie Another Face and Tomie Forbidden Fruit.

The Behind the Scenes feature (27 minutes 50 seconds) is a look at the making of the film, including some make up pieces and on-set footage, intercut with interviews with the cast and crew. This is a bit more detailed than your usual fluff piece, and gives a decent overview of the whole production.
The Verdict
This film is slow and plodding, and when the blood does start in the last 10 or 15 minutes it is not enough to make up for the earlier tedium. This film doesn't sit too highly on my list of good Asian horror, but is may just be 'cult' enough for fans of the manga.
Movie Score
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