Toire no Hanako san is a very scary and effective adaptation of the Japanese manga of the same name. Although many horror/suspense cliches are trotted out: the ouija board (although the Japanese version, kokkuri), whispered voices, an animated doll, and a group of kids that look like they stepped right out of a Japanese version of 90210 and always go into that darkened room when they shouldn’t, the movie worked. It was an original touch how the opening narration explaining the events was played over candid shots of the young students with black strips superimposed over their eyes so as to “protect” their identities from being linked to the events that transpire. The quick glimpses of “Hanako san” (we never really see the wholly reanimated version)build tension throughout the film a la the original Alien, and the climactic scenes in the crematorium were very unsettling. It’s possible this film might one day come to the attention of someone in the US film industry and be re-tooled and adapted for a US audience.
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