Sunday, April 23, 2017

Phil sees SADAKO VS. KAYAKO (2016) from Kadokawa/Shudder - April 23, 2017

In 1996, the late Wes Craven's film SCREAM had inadvertently ushered in a new wave of slasher horror films featuring, at the time, some of the most popular and young Hollywood actors and actresses like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Neve Campbell, Freddie Prinze Jr., Skeet Ulrich, Ryan Phillippe, Bridgette Wilson and Rose McGowan just to name a few. At the same time, Japan was experiencing a horror revolution of its own. Influenced by the old horror and ghost story classics from Japanese folklore, a new wave of movies called Japanese Horror (dubbed J-Horror) were dominating theaters. RINGU was released in 1998 and become such a huge hit that in 1999 the movie was remade here in America called THE RING. In that same year JU-ON became another sensation in Japan and was given the American remake in the form of THE GRUDGE in 2002. Then in 2016, fans of both franchises finally got what they've been dying for. Last night I finally watched SADAKO VS. KAYAKO on Shudder, the online horror streaming service.

Original Japanese Poster (2016)
The film's official synopsis: After viewing a legendary cursed videotape, Natsumi discovers she has only two days before she will be killed by the demonic entity known as Sadako. The only way to break the curse: pitting the demon Sadako against Kayako, an accursed spirit possessing a haunted house where everyone who enters disappears. SADAKO VS. KAYAKO brings the characters from RINGU and JU-ON: THE GRUDGE back to the big screen in a wildly fun, tongue-in-cheek thrill ride that finally answers the question: whose curse is stronger?

Boy, was this movie a fucking blast to watch!!! Think J-Horror meets FREDDY VS. JASON and that's what we have here!! It's batshit crazy on a Level 10!! Where am I going with all this? I don't know but I love this movie!!

Kôji Shiraishi is the man responsible for directing this amazing movie. I first became aware oh him when I saw the 2007 film KUCHISAKE-ONNA, better known here in the states as CARVED: THE SLIT-MOUTHED WOMAN (which, by the way, is based on another old Japanese folklore). He's done some other fantastic fright flicks like GUROTESUKU (GROTESQUE), OKARUTO (OCCULT) and both TEKETEKE films. He keeps the film moving right along, giving fans elements from both franchises while providing new characters, new scenarios and new scares. His compositions and framing superb, pacing is great and does a fine job of combining random silliness and downright terror.

Yuri Kurahashi and Natsumi Ueno are our two main leads, portrayed by Mizuki Yamamoto and Aimi Satsukawa repectively. They have great on-screen chemistry together; the look and sound like they're best friends. Both bring emotional depth to their characters and are sympathetic to the audience. We really do feel for these two girls. At the same time, Suzuka Takagi (played by Tina Tamashiro) is being hunted by a curse of her own! When they team up with spirit medium Keizo (Masanobu Andô) and his blind psychic sidekick Tamao (Maiko Kikuchi), the shit hits the fan as they pit Sadako against Kayako in hopes that they will destroy one another.

Originally, the film first started out as an April Fools' joke when it was teased on April 1, 2015 but then became a reality when into production on December 10, 2015. It was promoted on social media like crazy and was released in Japan on June 18, 2016. It went on to play at several film festivals before it finally made its way here in the states where it premiered on Shudder on January 26, 2017.

SADAKO VS. KAYAKO is a balls-to-the-wall, J-Horror fans wet dream come true!! If you want to see something different and unique, then this movie is right up your alley!! Fans of both franchises will want to see this movie over and over again!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 

SADAKO VS. KAYAKO is now streaming exclusively on Shudder. To view it, sign up on its website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

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