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The Asian ApertureTomie (1999)
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, October 28, 2013    Share

In a small, quiet rural town in Gifu prefecture, a high school girl is brutally murdered. So begins Tomie, a horror movie series based on a manga by Junji Ito. Horror manga artist, Ito, also wrote Uzumaki about spirals and the effect it has on a town and Gyo about fish that are controlled by a death stench. Itoís work falls within the body horror genre and compulsive behavior.

Tomie is the first movie in the longest running horror franchise in Japan with nine movies. Directed by Ataru Oikawa and starring J-pop singer, Miho Kanno, as Tomie, following the death of Tomie in the opening, students and teachers went insane or committed suicide. A detective has been assigned to the case and uncovers some very unusual information.

Much of Tomie focuses on Tsukiko, (Mami Nakamura) who wants to be a photographer and is attending a local art school. Tsukiko goes to see a psychiatrist for hypnotic treatments that should help her memories return. She was involved in an accident and since that time has amnesia. Weird things are going on for Tsukiko as one of her neighbors keeps feeding and caring for something strange in his apartment.

Tsukikoís boyfriend works at a small restaurant when a new female worker is hired as a waiter. This new co-worker is beautiful and has a strange mole under her left eye. She causes the other male workers to lust after her and drives them insane. This leads to an effective scene inside the restaurant at night as Tsukikoís boyfriend has a conversation with the new girl that is suspenseful.

There are a few gore scenes but the scene that got to me is when Tsukiko is strapped to a bed and canít move and another character is holding a roach right in her face and teasing her to eat it. If you know me, I canít stand roaches, although in movies I can deal with seeing them providing the scene is brief. Whenever I watch Creepshow, I skip past the roach segment with E. G. Marshall.

Tomie is not a scary movie, there arenít really any moments when something is going to jump out and shock you. Tomie is like The Ring series, it is more of a mystery with supernatural elements. I found Tomie to be the stronger movie of the two because it has psychological horror that disturbs you, long after the gory images leave your imagination.

I am eager to see more of the Tomieís series and hopefully the movies donít fall within the sequel pattern of not measuring up to the first movie as so many franchises seem to do.

Tomie is good for an initial viewing. Although I found Ju-on to be scarier, there is still potential for the Tomie character to be effective and scary in the many sequels. I need to read the manga to see how well the movies compare. I would put Tomie as a rental because to me in falls right in the middle between fair and recommended. I picked up a used DVD for $2.99 and I donít feel cheated for that price. Tomie must have something good going because there are so many sequels so I recommend starting with this one and moving on the next one to see what happens. You never know who or what is out there waiting for you.


3 out of 5

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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