Reincarnation (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on February 5, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Eastern Eye (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). Japanese DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 92 minutes
The Movie
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Starring: Yuka, Karina, Kippei Shiina, Tetta Sugimoto, Shun Oguri
Writer: Takashi Shimizu, Masaki Adachi
Country: Japan
AKA: Rinne
If one is to talk about J-horror, and its popularity in Western societies, there are a few names that will always pop up: Audition and Imprint legend Takashi Miike, Ringu master Hideo Nakata, and Takashi Shimizu, the man behind the Ju-on series. Taking one of his rare journeys outside of the world of The Grudge, Shimizu presents us with Rinne, aka Reincarnation.

Reincarnation tells the story of ingénue actress Nagisa Sugiura (Yuka), who has landed the role of a lifetime. She has the starring role in an ensemble piece called "Memory" which is based on a horrific mass murder known as the Gunma Hotel Massacre, where 11 people were killed, and filmed by their murderer, who was also the father of two of the young victims.

The cast have gone to the hotel to get a feel for their roles, and so the director can block out some important set pieces, but Nagisa keeps having fantasies where she is seeing the people who were murdered, but are they fantasies? At first she thinks they are, but she realizes that she has been seeing the victims before she even saw photos of them. The visions become more and more intense, until she feels that she may have been there, 35 years ago, when the original murders took place... but how could that be, with her being so young?

Shimizu has excelled himself this time, as this is one spooky movie. Really the only criticism I can have of this film is that it tends to be very much like others of its ilk. The Grudge, Spider Forest, Ringu and many others seem to have that element of a haunting occurring, and then a character hunting down the reason why it is going on and the answer seems to almost always be in a small and/or dilapidated village, but the formula works here, so I really can't dump on it too much.

There are some horrific images in this film, particularly those of the children being murdered, and the ending is both disturbing and unconventional.

As a side note, this film has a prop of a doll in it that out-creeps the tricycle riding one from Deep Red... weird!!!
This film is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen, and is an absolutely beautiful transfer. All the images are sharp and crisp and natural.
This film is presented in Japanese 5.1 Dolby digital, and is so layered in its sound-scape, that even Fat Boy Slim would be impressed.
Extra Features
The kindly people at Madman/Eastern Eye have been kind enough to offer us a nice batch of extras on this disc. One criticism is that as with some Madman/Eastern Eye releases, the subtitles have to be activated for every special feature, rather than them defaulting to English subtitles, with an option to remove them.

Making of Reincarnation is less a 'making of' and more just a selection of behind the scenes footage stitched together. Interesting for those with a fascination with how films are made and shots are done, but otherwise a fairly pedestrian extra.

Memories of Reincarnation
is a interview piece with director Takashi Shimizu, and discusses his recollections of the making of this picture, and his thoughts on horror cinema in general, including being included in the Japanese 'Masters of Horror', 'J Horror Theatre'.

There are a selection Deleted Scenes available with or without commentary by director Shimizu, actress Yuka and producer Takashige Ichise. This is an interesting piece as with the commentary, you find out why these scenes were deleted, and why it is a better film without them.

Another useless photo gallery also appears.

This disc also features the International Trailer for the film, and trailers for other Eastern Eye releases: The Red Shoes, Premonition, Infection and Pulse.

The feature can also be played with an introduction by Shimizu, who explains that this film is different from his experiences in the world of Ju-On.
The Verdict
Exquisitely shot, and genuinely creepy. If you don't like J-horror you probably won't like it, but if you do, you will revel in it. Spooktacular!
Movie Score
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