Takashi Shimizu’s ‘Marebito’: Vampires, Kinda, and also Social Commentary (review)

Japanese movie, whose title Google Translate assures me means “rare”. Masuoka (Shin’ya Tsukamoto) is a cameraman who feels disconnected from daily life. After filming a stranger committing suicide by stabbing himself in the eye, Masuoka longs to see what the man saw, thinking that his terror opened him up to seeing “things both strange and mysterious.” Indeed, he discovers an underground netherworld, where he finds a young woman naked and chained to a rock (Tomomi Miyashita). He takes her home with him, names her F, and starts filming her every move. She acts like she was raised by wolves, and he realizes she’s never seen a human before. He’s puzzled when she won’t eat, until he discovers she drinks blood. Then, like Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, he must go to great lengths to keep her fed.

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Did I mention she drinks out of a bottle?

Masuoka is an interesting character. He’s been desensitized to violence, presumably because he is so constantly a voyeur. He’s completely undisturbed by watching a guy kill himself. As he thinks, “The image on TV is more realistic.” He’s numb, and no amount of Prozac is going to help him. He’s a peeping tom, always filming people, with or without their knowledge. He’s also isolated; most of the dialogue in the movie is Masuoka talking to himself.

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Marebito is a bit confusing at times. And kinda gross. I was feeling nauseous already when I sat down to watch this, and during a scene when F licks blood off of the floor, I actually gagged. Overall, the acting is decent, it’s pretty original (sort of a ghost/vampire story, with robots-things thrown in), and thought-provoking. Give it a look if you want something a little warped and strange.

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Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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