HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cup of Cheer
Lost at Christmas
Super Robot Mach Baron
Battle of Jangsari, The
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
Safe Spaces
Stanford Prison Experiment, The
Assassination in Rome
Castle Freak
Pinocchio
Brother Bear
Raiders of Buddhist Kung Fu
County Lines
Polytechnique
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
Host
Nimic
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Possessor
Flint
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Patrick
Cemetery
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Skyfire
Upright
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Agency
Blue My Mind
   
 
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
   
 
  Isola: Multiple Personality Girl Who's that Girl?
Year: 2000
Director: Toshiyuki Mizutani
Stars: Yoshino Kimura, Yû Kurosawa, Ken Ishiguro, Makiko Watanabe, Satomi Tezuka, Susumu Terajima, Kazuhiro Yamaji, Hideo Murota, Shirô Shimomoto, Yôzaburô Ito, Yuriko Hiro’oka, Hôka Kinoshita, Kiriko Shimizu, Tetsu Sakuma, Yoko Chôsokabe
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Following the Kobe earthquake in 1995, Yukari Komo (Yoshino Kimura) comes to the city hoping to help survivors, but discovers she has the psychic ability to read people’s thoughts. Her efforts to help a traumatised old man suffering flashbacks to the Second World War, backfire when he commits suicide and the other survivors react violently towards the well-meaning outsiders trying to help. Shortly thereafter a schoolgirl mysterious drowns herself in a toilet bowl cast on the street. A janitor is compelled to stab himself in the neck. Yukari is drawn to a troubled teenager called Chisato (Yû Kurosawa), who is shunned by locals as a freak since she suffers from multiple personality disorder. Her thirteen different alter-egos range from a grungy, self-harming street punk to a meek five year old child who loves to draw. Feeling an affinity with this tortured soul, Yukari resolves to help Chisato, but one of her personas is Isola, a malevolent supernatural being who may have caused the earthquake.

In Japan the primary audience for horror in manga, anime and live-action film are adolescent girls. Hence the development of a sub-genre that dials down hardcore splatter in favour of subtle psychological chills and emotionally nuanced sub-plots, usually centred around a long-haired ghost girl who stands-in for every high school kid who’s ever felt like an outsider in a largely conformist society. Sold overseas as “J-horror”, the genre isn’t representative of Japanese horror as a whole and has fast become clichéd, but ingeniously taps the anxieties of its target audience, even as it alienates grouchy horror fans craving more visceral terrors.

For what is essentially another variant on the Ring (1998) formula, Isola: Multiple Personality Girl has a rather convoluted origin, being derived from a novel by Yosuke Kishi which was in turn inspired by the short story “Tales of Moonlight and Rain” taken from the ghost story anthology Ugetsu Monogatori - famously adapted into a movie by Kenji Mizoguchi in 1953. On top of that the film draws explicitly upon the Kobe earthquake, opening with an apparently sincere dedication to its survivors and closing with footage of the memorial site erected in its aftermath.

One might question whether using a real-life disaster as a backdrop for a horror movie is in good taste, but the muted visuals and low-key storytelling captures the shell-shocked aftermath in gritty, believable fashion without recourse to hysteria. Toshiyuki Mizutani directs with a penchant for blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em creepy moments (e.g. when “Isola” telekinetically animates a little paper doll; or when Yukiko finds herself conversing with all thirteen of Chihiro’s personalities), but his snail’s pacing will infuriate some. As played by winsome Yoshino Kimura, Yukiko is a frustratingly vague and passive heroine who has no effect on the story’s final outcome. Beautiful model/J-pop star/actress Yû Kurosawa, granddaughter of director Akira Kurosawa (proving his genius extends to his DNA), isn’t quite up to the acting challenge of crafting thirteen distinct personalities, but is suitably eerie. However, a late act twist casts Isola and the whole supernatural angle aside, in favour of a science fiction plot. Suddenly, Isola becomes the story of a lady scientist (Satomi Tezuka) persecuting her partner (Ken Ishiguro) for an accidental death that wasn’t really his fault. The story resolves itself with some soap opera speech-making and a self-sacrifice from a peripheral character that renders every aspect that held the audience interested, completely moot and shamefully squanders a promising premise.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2834 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: