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Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And All Over Japan: The Movie (2004)

DVD Cover (Tokyo Shock)
Movie Connections:
Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And All Over Japan
> Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And All... (2003)
> Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And... (2004)
Genres / Traits:
Horror, Horror Anthology, Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Horror, Urban Legends
Directors:
Keita Amemiya Keita Amemiya
Shun'ichi Hirano Shun'ichi Hirano
Ryűta Miyake Ryűta Miyake
Hirohisa Sasaki Hirohisa Sasaki
Kôsuke Suzuki Kôsuke Suzuki
Starring:
Naoto Takenaka Naoto Takenaka
Yasufumi Hayashi Yasufumi Hayashi
Kazunari Shigesawa Kazunari Shigesawa
Satoshi Ôgida Satoshi Ôgida
Daisuke Shima Daisuke Shima

5.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: July 29, 2006
Much like Volume One of the Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And All Over Japan series, this anthology-styled movie features short stories from some of the lesser-known directors of Japan. Eight supposedly true stories are told throughout this ninety minute presentation, with topics ranging from the typical Japanese ghost story (long-haired little girls) to the downright bizarre (women disappearing into clouds of smoke in a story that is much better than it sounds) to the extremely touching (a mother is worried about her son's well-being, only to discover that things aren't exactly as they seem). The average running time of these stories is about ten minutes, although one runs for close to twenty and a couple run for a mere five. Horror for those with a short attention span; how can you go wrong?

As mentioned, the film includes eight stories. I'm going to run down each of them and give my thoughts, although some of these will be extremely short given the material presented.

The Night Watchman
directed by Akio Yoshida
A businessman hires a couple of night watchmen to keep the vagrants and bums out of a building that is set to be demolished soon. As it turns out, one of the men has no problems watching over the place, but the boss can't keep a second man on the payroll thanks to them all quitting on him. As it turns out, the quitters believe that the place is haunted, and when the boss decides to check out these claims, he finds out that they may have been correct... but why does the one guy insist that the place isn't haunted?

This one is more of a lighthearted affair than the rest of the material on the disc, but it's by no means a horror-comedy. It features a very interesting storyline and some genuinely chilling scenes, and it was a damned good way to kick off the feature presentation.

Wisps Of Smoke
directed by Kosuke Suzuki
Three young ladies get lost in the woods while driving to a friend's house, so they decide to stop the car, get out, and smoke a couple of cigarettes while they figure out where they are. Hey, I don't write these stories, I just report on them. Anyway, the girls are eventually visited by an unseen force that plans to kill them off; however, the method of execution isn't a knife or a gun - it turns out that the preferred method of human disposal is to cause the ladies to simply disappear (in chunks), leaving behind only a wisp of smoke.

The running theme of this movie is to tell a quick story and get some good scares out of it. Thanks to the time constraints, some of these stories aren't able to be properly fleshed out or explained, and this is the one that suffers the most from it. Although what we do get to see is intriguing, I felt that it would have been nice to have learned a little something about what was going on here; sure, it's obvious that something isn't too happy about these girls being in the woods, but what is it and why is it so pissed? Using the imagination is fine by me to an extent, but a little nugget of information would have been great.

Gloves
directed by Hirohisa Sasaki
A young lady gets a friendly visit from her ex-husband and learns that he's now seeing a new woman. After he leaves, the lady in question starts to receive a ghostly visitor every night that isn't content to just stand around and look spooky; this visitor takes glee in choking the woman while she sleeps. Oh yeah, did I mention that the visitor is a pair of elbow-length gloves?

This was the most bizarre story to be found on this disc by far, and although it seems silly on paper, it worked out very nicely on the screen. Not much to be found here in terms of scares, but it's a solid storyline regardless.

The Weight
directed by Kosuke Suzuki
A woman wakes up in the middle of the night, only to discover that something is causing her considerable pain by putting a great deal of weight on her waist and legs. Whatever could it be?

Yes, this is a very short story, and although it's the only one that I'd heard to have "actually happened" prior to watching the film, I must say that it was very anti-climatic and disappointing. The woman discovers that it's a ghostly man causing the pain by sitting on her, fends him off, goes to the bathroom, and finally sees him doing the same thing to her son. No scares to be found here, although I must say that imagining something like this actually happening is pretty creepy; it's too bad that feeling couldn't be properly translated to the feature.

Full-Length Mirror
directed by Ryuta Miyake
Two guys are spending a final day together in the school gymnasium before heading off to the real world of bills and full-time jobs. One of them decides to find out whether or not the stories about a full-length mirror in a storage room are true; what the stories are is never revealed, but I'd venture to guess that they're not very pretty considering what eventually happens to the two.

Although the story found here takes a small bit of inspiration from the classic "Bloody Mary" urban legend and I had a pretty good idea of where it was going as soon as I saw the mirror, I must say that this one was a pleasant surprise. It features some damned creepy visuals, and it managed to pull not one but two "jump startles" from your faithless webmaster in its brief ten-minute running time (no easy task, I assure you). Definitely a highlight of the disc.

Line Of Sight
directed by Keisuke Toyoshima
A group of high school girls decides to put together a video time capsule so that, ten years down the road, they can see if they ended up where they wanted to be in life. The videos that these girls create contain simple quotes such as "In ten years, I want to be a pastry chef" and similar things, but one particular video stands out thanks to a ghostly image in the background. When rumor gets out that one of the girls captured a ghost on video, everyone wants to see it; however, as their teacher warns, showing off something like this could have dire consequences.

This is the best film on the disc, hands down. Although it takes a tiny amount of inspiration from Stephen King's short story entitled The Sun Dog, it changes the events around considerably and features enough original material so that only the die-hard King fans will recognize the inspiration. Featuring some damned creepy visuals, a very interesting storyline and solid scares all around, this short film makes the disc worth a rental on its own.

The Promise
directed by Keita Amemiya
A rich uncle leaves his lavish apartment building to his nephew for ten days, and the boy couldn't be any more delighted. However, the old man lays down one condition on the boy getting his apartment: he has to promise that he will answer when he's called. A bizarre promise, indeed, but he finds out what it means when he hears a ghostly woman calling out someone else's name in the house. If our hero answers the call, she shuts up; however, when he doesn't answer her, things get a wee bit spooky.

Featuring an interesting premise and an unforgettable ending, this one definitely comes in near the top of my favorites from this disc. If the previous story hadn't convinced you to give this one a shot, this one should make the movie a must-see; trust me on that one and thank me later.

Hisao
directed by Shunichi Hirano
The final story in tonight's feature presentation tells the tale of a kimono-clad mother who is overly protective of her darling son. She's worried about him letting the school bullies "borrow" money all the time, and she's particularly worried about the fact that they beat him up when he refuses. She decides that murdering these bullies would be in her son's best interest, but as she talks to her son, we find out a couple of facts that completely changes the situation.

Although this entry does feature some horror (revealing said horror would spoil the ending, though), this is more of a touching story than a scare-you-shitless story. Watching this actress talk to her "son" is thoroughly convincing, and it's pretty touching to see how much she cares for her one and only child. When the aforementioned facts are revealed, things get very interesting and the storyline finally ends with a beautiful scene that shows just how much this mother loves her son.

While I would have preferred that some of these films be extended a bit in order to better flesh out the stories, I found that the overall package was highly worthy of a rental or even a purchase for fans of Asian horror. While it wouldn't be the best place to get started for those of you new to the Asian style of cinema, those of you who've seen a couple of their releases and are experienced with their style of storytelling should get a considerable amount of enjoyment from this movie. 8/10.
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