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Kawashima (Haruhiko Kato) has just set up his internet connection when
he realizes that his computer occasionally dials up to the net itself and
goes straight to a website suggesting "Do you want to meet a ghost
?" Since he is a computer-illiterate, Kawashima turns to the computer
expert of his university, Harue (Koyuki), and the two start investigating
and soon find out that the website, called Forbidden Room, has to
do with the many disappearances that have been reported lately, of people
who just faded out of this world and the only thing left of them are black
spots on floors and walls.
Eventually, Kawashima and Harue come to a rather unquieting conclusion:
since the ghost world is full, it seems, the ghosts now make the living
immortal by trapping them in their loneliness. And really, within a few
days, there are almost no people left in town but Kawashima and Harue, and
then Harue starts having depressions and runs off as well. Kawashima tries
to follow her, but stumbles upon Michi (Kumiko Aso), who has lost all her
friends and colleagues to loneliness as well, and who agrees to
accompany Kawashima, if only to not be alone anymore.
Eventually the two of them catch up with Harue, who now carries a gun,
puts it into her mouth and ... just disappears.
Later, when he goes fetching gas for the car, Kawashima is attacked by
loneliness as well, but comehow he can resist and stay in this world ...
but when Michi finally comes to fetch him, he is already very weak and has
left a black spot on the floor. Michi decides to leave Japan altogether
and the two take a motor boat to take them out onto the open sea.
Eventually they are picked up by an ocean liner, run entirely by the
captain (Koji Yakusho), who has lost his entire crew to loneliness but who
has refused to give up. Kawashima soon loses his battle against loneliness
as well and fades away, but Michi has found new hope in the ship's captain
and the two of them drift away to a place where they hope to find other
Now one thing up front: I hate reviews that compare every other
Japanese horror film to Ringu, as
if this was the first ever shocker to come from Japan - because quite
simply, Ringu wasn't, Japan has had
a long and incredibly rich tradition in producing horror films that vary
in style considerably.
However, the similarities between Ringu
and Kairo are too striking to be overlooked: Both films are about a
curse from the ghost world that is transported via mass media, both films
concern the investigations of a few individuals into the curse that only
uncover a more shocking truth, and in both films, very much is left
unexplained without making them shallow. And if at all, on this account, Kairo
beats Ringu by far, as even after
having seen the film in its entirety, it'shard to make heads or tails of
So does this make Kairo nothing more than a highly derivative
muddled mess ?
Hell no, while Kairo might not be too great on story, it is
simply scary as hell. There is simply no other film that matches this ones
mastery of making trivial things such as black spots or people standing
still quite as creepy. Maybe Kairo most closely resembles a bizarre
nightmare that despite its leaps in logic keeps one completely entranced
and is able to scare the living shit out of the dreamer - and actually, I
can't think of anything much nicer to say about a horror film. Simply put,