Creepy Screen 26 articles

Creepy

2016

Creepy Poster
  • Explanations cripple Kurosawa, who excels at evoking the uncanny but has no real taste for outright horror; Creepy is at its best when things are just...slightly...off, a quality embodied in everything from Kagawa's Asperger-y performance to the proximity in which two characters are standing at the beginning of a shot... Were I capable of ignoring the outlandish, frequently nonsensical plot and focusing entirely on Kurosawa's control of the frame and tone, we'd be in business here. But I'm not.

  • I guess that Creepy's alright. I guess that Creepy's alright. But the two story threads, they don't connect so tight. And creepy guy can't chill. He's like a three-yen bill. And it's obvious that he's the one compelled to kill. That's not the old Kiyoshi. The ice cold Kiyoshi.

  • Featuring an industrial vacuum cleaner-cum-sealer, a mysterious mind-control drug — both spooky and narratively convenient, considering the characters’ screamingly preposterous behavior — and a pit-equipped basement that competes with The Silence of the Lambs for most terrifying movie cellar of all time, [the payoff is] exactly the type of juicy, creatively twisted, and hilariously unreasonable climax you expect from a Japanese horror film.

  • Kurosawa’s is a film with devices such as mind-altering love serums... and an extraordinarily affable dog named Max, who may or may not be the key to this world’s salvation. As Creepy‘s narrative threads all begin to converge in its hyperreal second half, the film becomes a masterful juggling act that stretches our knowledge of what constitutes credible human behavior to its limits, to the point where it feels like the movie might break at any moment.

  • Expertly-done for about an hour, toying with our need to 'make sense' of this as a coherent horror thriller - even though we're explicitly told that FBI-style forensic analysis is no use at all when it comes to serial killers - the camera playing games, pulling back to re-frame or soaring in an overhead shot to suggest (yes) creepiness.

  • In Daguerrotype, Kurosawa failed to fill in the world and his characters with the kind of detail that would support such slow-burn pacing, leaving the film, while full of intriguing notions, feeling more enervated than mesmerizing. No such issues exist with Creepy, a genre piece as dense as it is atmospheric.

  • In terms of formal orchestration, Creepy is as sublime as any prior Kurosawa film. But the filmmaker, whose use of silence is as masterful as his blocking, doesn't fully mine his promising theme.

  • Kurosawa's sense of emphasis is inverted: What other filmmakers do with close-ups or shadows, he does with wide shots, ellipses, and empty space. And the more successfully Creepy rationalizes itself, the more irrational it becomes, until it descends into one of those decrepit subterranean spaces that have stood in for the recesses of the psyche in Kurosawa’s movies.

  • The film has a cold preciseness that stands in contrast to the director’s previous feature Journey to the Shore... No such levity can be found here. Menacing camera movements help track characters through rooms, sometimes anticipating their location before they even arrive. Kurosawa’s experimental lighting also adds another psychological dimension, as is the case with a brilliant interrogation scene that echoes one found late in Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows.

  • Kurosawa feints left, then strikes right. A few twists you’ll see coming, others not so much. But the fun lies in the staging. A shot of two figures pulls back to reveal—uh-oh!—a third, that sort of thing, but also: Busy, busy planes in the foreground and background, most entertainingly in the university where so many of the walls are transparent.

  • Creepy pushes farther and farther away from realism, towards a kind of ghastly, muffled phantasmagoria. The layout of the killer's lair is blatantly architecturally impossible, his victims irrationally drawn deep inside its dank corridors, and the terrifying introduction of a serum draining victims of their will finally underlines the sneaking suspicion that we've moved out of the realm of crime into the realm of metaphysical torment. All is, admittedly, a bit absurd.

  • Kurosawa works on our nerves in a subtle manner that’s hard to explain. When Takakura says that a deserted house feels like a crime scene, we wonder how he can possibly know – but it’s that elusive bass note of ‘creepiness’ that Kurosawa wants us to share.

  • Kurosawa shares writing credits with quirky indie helmer Chihiro Ikeda in this adaptation of Yutaka Maekawa’s award-winning mystery novel. As with “Penance,” working from an original literary source has helped steer the helmer away from the fuzzy endings that plague his own scripted works, and toward a tighter structure and punchier resolution.

  • Kurosawa has never been this cutthroat before, making seconds feel like hours while people are helplessly pushed further into the mire. Like peak Fritz Lang, Creepy makes you suffer along with a too-proud hero as he’s undone by fate and betrayed by the ground beneath his feet. It almost feels like punishment for everyone who’s written Kurosawa off these last few years.

  • The most accomplished film in the festival was Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s Kuripi Itsuwari no Rinjin (Creepy).

  • While the film loses some of its momentum in the third act, it nonetheless paints a horrific tale of dread and despair. The film draws on our discomfort in breaking social mores as a source of unsettling horror... Much like Kurosawa’s previous titles, “Creepy” gets under your skin and forces the audience to reflect on their own failures and weaknesses.

  • What's the opposite of a jump scare? Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa has mastered it in the superb Creepy, revealing the upsetting details with such slow-build subtlety that you don't notice your skin crawling until it's halfway out the door.

  • What matters is how Kurosawa mines the divide between family and work, and questions the limits of love and knowledge. Don’t expect answers. Instead, consider the extraordinary moment when an overhead camera pulls back from two men until they’re near specks, as if they were being cut down to existential size. Kurosawa doesn’t explain the shot or tether it to an obvious point of view. Instead, he just holds on it, inviting you to fill it with meaning or simply ponder the ineffable with dread.

  • Kurosawa remains one of few filmmakers who can make broad daylight as scary as pitch darkness. (Although keep in mind that when the lights go out in his films things will always be even more terrifying.) Creepy is just as the title suggests, and much beyond that. Most meaningfully, it’s a reminder of the frightening things that can happen when we don’t talk to the ones we love.

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    Sight & Sound: Nick Pinkerton
    November 04, 2016 | December 2016 Issue (p. 67)

    The movie is full of lures, snares and ambushes, as befits a suspense movie, but what sets it apart from the average run of thrillers is how willingly its characters walk into them... The destination may be inevitable, but the trip there is never less than compelling, thanks in no small part to Kurosawa's awareness of the widescreen frame and his tensile wielding of classical mise en scène, which is about as easy to find today as good blacksmithing.

  • Kurosawa's work of the last six years was not necessarily lacking in shadows and light (a trait he shares with Hooper, along with another acknowledged influence, Mario Bava) nor has any of his work been without a certain romanticism; it’s just that what is on display here is a welcome return to the terrain of a consummate professional operating on a level of complete control, with a style steeped in classicism, accompanied by ideas teeming with the possibilities of the modern.

  • The second-best Kurosawa returns to horror with an initially convoluted-seeming tale that turns out to be as simple, and grim, as death. The surreal touches are genuinely unnerving and the ending is one of the most satisfying, in a movie-movie way, I’ve experienced in quite some time.

  • That Creepy comes so close to being a standard police procedural/boogeyman narrative makes its grace notes all the more striking. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa uses genre trappings as window dressing—basically, as a vehicle to get to the uncanny.

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    Film Comment: Manu Yañez-Murillo
    March 03, 2017 | March/April 2017 Issue (p. 75)

    It could have fallen into the conventions of the standard thriller, but Kurosawa transcends the premise by rejecting psychological realism. Driven by irrationality, the movie ends up connecting its dots, both narratively and conceptually, through the recurrent high-angle shot of a blind alley—society as a mouse-trap—as Kurosawa disposes of the fallacy of social peace by obliterating the notion of narrative logic.

  • The fantastique is everywhere these days, far beyond its usual, cozy berth within the horror genre – supernatural premises have invaded even the homeliest TV event-series, and ghosts of all stripes are ubiquitous across story modes. Kurosawa, over both cinema and TV, holds to his well-honed manner of downplaying outright fantasy/horror elements in order to dwell within the uncanny and unsettling, the realm of the slightly ‘off’ – and Creepy is among his most ingeniously constructed contraptions.

  • How the developments in the film feel so inevitable yet surprising as they nonchalantly unfold before us is nothing short of master filmmaking—and as pitch perfect Teruyuki Kagawa's performance is it could easily fall flat under a different director. Kurosawa uses the frame in such an understated and idiosyncratic way—rarely announcing itself but always brewing something beyond the moment at hand—always paying mind to the tonal makeup of his vision.

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