Tomie Vs. Tomie

I decided to kick off this blog with a cinematic condemnation of a favorite manga's latest incarnation. Junji Ito is a fantastic horror manga-ka, but the film adaptations of his works take some getting use to. Tomie is one of his most beloved, or feared perhaps, characters and the role of this terrifying temptress is coveted by many Japanese actresses. The most recent release, of what is now a long running series of films, falls flat once more. Now, don't get me wrong, this movie is much better than the last few installments in the series, but that doesn't make it a masterpiece.

Tomie vs. Tomie has a reasonably good use of camera angles and can build the mood up very nicely in certain areas (for fans of Japanese horror, that is), however it doesn't quite possess the necessary mystery that the first few movies grasped. The special effects could cause a slight skin-crawling feeling at certain times, but at others it made you almost laugh at how unrealistic the latex "decay" came across. (I spent a good chunk of the movie trying to figure out exactly what it was, convinced it was Swamp-Thing-Acne.)

The casting is reasonably well done, and the acting about par with most low budget Japanese horrors. You're going to have some people screaming in "anger", when really all they are doing is making loud-noises. The main actor isn't too hard on the eyes, and the actresses chosen to play Tomie were well thought out, reasonably matching, and perhaps to some less observant people (or with drunken blurry vision), identical. The plot was basic, with a few small twists at the end that, at least for fans of Tomie, might be interesting. The main redeeming quality of the film was the very end, which came to a slightly confusing but mostly interesting conclusion.

Unfortunately, there are too many real faults to this movie for the few higher notes to save it from failure in my eyes. What could have been an interesting premise on film ended up being nothing more than another droll Japanese horror that will fall into slight obscurity except to fans of the manga who will want to watch it for completions sake. There was no real depth to any of the characters, no real satisfying climatic confrontation, and absolutely no real graphic or psychological terror blended into the cinematography. Overall, I give it 4 out of 10, only because my love of Junji Ito is making me feel generous.


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