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Beautiful Lure – A Modern Tale of Painted Skin

Japan 2021
produced by
Icuco Miura, Hidetoshi Momiyama, Yoichi Utebi, Ryuho Okawa (executive) for KOGA Productions, Happy Science/Nikkatsu
directed by Hiroshi Akabane
starring Nao Hasegawa, Ryoma Ichihara, Toshiyuki Nagashima, Yoshimi Ashikawa, Moro Morooka, Miho Yabe, Masaru Shonozuka, Kiyotaka Uji, Yoshiko Sengen, Ryota Nakashini, Masayuki Suzuki, David Ito, Takayasu Komiya, Atsushi Fukazawa, Aya Sugimoto, Ryo Aoki, Ren Matsuoka, Mirai Irako, Kanon Nishishita, Riko Fukazawa, Satoshi Izumi, Kenji Fukuda, Mutsuki Bando, Ryo Iwata, Yoshiki Tano, Rina Narita, Mitsuyasu Konishi, Momoka Tachibana, Mei Yamagishi, Rin Kijima, Tomoya Naito, Yuki Takato, Yusuke Sasaki, Nobuyuki Kase, Sayaka Mochizuki, Noa Nagayama, Tatsuo Endo, Yoshihiko Takeoka, Miwa Murai
story by Ryuho Okawa, screenplay by Sayaka Okawa, music by Yuichi Mizusawa

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Maiko (Nao Hasegawa), a young woman as beautiful as she's intelligent, has the ambition to make it to the absolute top - and to that end, she works both at a bank and as hostess at Minako's (Miho Yabe) club, and she really excels as both. And of course, in both positions she only meets the best society has to offer - as in, perfect marrying material. For a time, she has a romance going with Yuya (Kiyotaka Uji), son of a rich industrialist (Masaru Shonozuka), but she ditches him when she meets Taro (Ryoma Ichihara), son of former prime minister Shiomura (Toshiyuki Nagashima) and political hopeful, who falls madly in love with her, but refuses to commit to marriage. However, Maiko isn't only beautiful and intelligent, she's also clever and cunning, and really manipulates him into proposing to her, even if that involves kissing him in front of paparazzi cameras. Meanwhile, Yuya can't accept her ditching him, so much so that he at one time attacks her violently - too soon enough turn up dead. In the meantime, Taro, while being honestly in love with her, can't shake the feeling that something isn't quite right with her, like she can't enter certain shrines and the like, so he consults his spiritual leader Katsuko (Yoshimi Ashikawa), and before long she finds out that Maiko's actually possessed by a youma, an evil deity hell-bent on destroying the country. Thing is, the youma can only be exorcised at their wedding ...


A quite interesting movie that rolls quite a bit of satire and social commentary into a modern fairy tale and thus mixes the world of finance with the world of magic and demons, in a pretty entertaining fashion. And the often somewhat stilted dialogue only helps to give the film that's mostly settled in "our reality" a suitably otherworldly flair, while the direction sell-assuredly goes for beautiful pictures, to when the time is right reveal them as (too) perfect facades. And given how the movie progressed beforehands, the finale is set to both surprise and highly entertain one.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD