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St. John's Wort (2001)

DVD Cover (Timeless Media Group)
Genres / Traits:
Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Video Games
Director:
Ten Shimoyama Ten Shimoyama
Starring:
Megumi Okina Megumi Okina
Y˘ichir˘ Sait˘ Y˘ichir˘ Sait˘
K˘ji Ohkura K˘ji Ohkura
Reiko Matsuo Reiko Matsuo
Minoru Terada Minoru Terada

4.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by WinterMercy
Added: August 23, 2004
Nami is a video game artist who is helping a small group of video game producers. The group is creating a new game based on Nami's life, partially to help her unravel her past upon her father's death, and partially to make an awesome, realistic game. This film starts with takes of the video game they're producing, in the form of dialogue, explaining that Nami's mother and father have died, and the property has been left to her. After a brief meeting with the producers, Nami and her ex-boyfriend video game producer, Kohei, go to explore the mansion that has been left in her father's death. The groundskeeper, one of the mysterious characters from the video game, shows up and another game-like dialogue is shown, with this man handing Nami the keys to the mansion. They both wander around the mansion, video taping everything and going through all the rooms. More is exposed about her father; he was a very famous painter, said to have a 'lost masterpiece' that was never finished. The two people left at the headquarters, Toko and Shinichi, manage making the other aspects of the video game, such as a map of the mansion, completely 3D. I don't really want to say too much more about this, but the story line gets much deeper. Missing children associated with her father and his paintings, a twin of Nami's named Naomi (which turns out to be a giant twist at the end). All of this corresponds with this mystery painting of Nami's father. I'm not even going to get into the St. John's Wort aspect of this movie. You'll just have to watch the rest of the movie yourself, if you're interested so far.

The cinematics are insane in this movie. I'm not entirely sure if the effects are computer generated or not, such as the lighting effects (from normal looking forest, to purple trees). There's major contrast changes in most of the movie, to give the film a video game feel. A lot of the scenes look like Computer Generated Images, but it's so cleanly executed, you can't tell either way. There's a lot of variety going on in these shots. Different artistic aspects, computer generation, things of the like. This movie is worth a look, just for the video effects.

Truth be told, I don't get scared by movies (with the exception of the Ring--that was weird). However, this movie kept me on edge the entire time, and horror aspects didn't let me down. It was such a unique story too, so you were watching the movie, instead of waiting for it to compare to others of the same sort. Also, I should've mentioned it's based on a video game series in Japan, called Otogiriso, which is based on a book, written by Nagasaka Shukei.

The pace of the movie can be slow in some parts. It was kind of disappointing. This movie could've been done much better; they fell a little short in some places. As suspenseful as it is, there are parts where you're waiting for something to happen. If the entire movie was as lush as the story here, then this definitely have won some major awards. For the most part, it's very enjoyable. It should appeal nicely to those who like horror, as well as you people who've always wanted to see this mix of video gaming and film done well.

This movie is dubbed in English, but also allows you to watch with the original Japanese voices and subtitles, whichever you prefer.

This movie fell short, but still delivered a punch that I hadn't been hit with. If only the movie compared to the story, but that's not the case. I suggest renting it and if you like it, add it to your collection and buy the book. If not, stick with the book for an excellent story line. 7/10
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Moggy #1: Moggy - added 07/17/2005, 03:14 AM
i loved this movie... it rocked. (at 3am.)
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