We have a short, masterful Japanese horror film that is available on Youtube from the infamous ”nana825763‘ who also produced the viral videos of ‘Doll’ and ‘Username 666‘ a decade ago, two much less ambitious projects as mere animations over any coherent cinematic effort. This 2016 release was unfortunately neglected from deserved attention – it is legitimately scary in the narrow setup with an unsettling narrative, terrifyingly brilliant set design and focused camerawork. The cyclic nature has the audience vigilant to any subtle changes as a clever device to exhibit an understanding of horror principles.
In the isolating and deafening mayhem of a typhoon, where the wind wakes him up, a man tours his increasingly unusual house that’s in a state of disrepair and of a traditional Japanese design: tarnished shōji windows, damaged ceilings leaking rain, black rot across vintage family portraits and decrepit tatami rooms. The unsettling structure resembles a derelict one and thus contradicts any conventional notion of a home – these circumstances are apparently as atypical. As he loops throughout the house, where he climatically opens fusuma sliding doors into hallways, a sutra echoes the halls as eerie religious music while his scenery gradually transforms in each sequence to a more hellish landscape – his narration of the loop almost a mantra itself. He soon unveil that his grandparents are here as an uncomfortable truth considering nobody else seems active.
The howling wind crunching the senses, seeping rain from the pores of peeling walls and suffocating hallway all combine for a claustrophobic exploration of a house completely unpredictable as the long hair strands seemingly dangling along surfaces. The mystery of his grandparents, with wonderful practical effects to reinforce related revelations later, has one apprehensive of the dangers lurking, but the most disturbing aspect is as he explains all of these facts in a strange apathy of the peculiar properties – he is creepily mismatched as the environment: no fear, it is literally his home to the viewer’s unease.
A Hina Doll room of figures who’ve become monstrously deformed from the decay, a mannequin punctured throughout with needles as an aggressive display, shredded windows with hundreds of viewing ports concealing unobservable shadows and rotten walls displaying abandonment for any duty of care – these all communicate absolute ruin and a hostile disregard diminishing any hope for sense. Logic soon becomes convoluted as all unravels into more otherworldly chaos – there’s no safety in such an impure and senseless building.
As mold is a strange substance of age and neglect, while having a life of its own, so is the house and the inhabitants are corrupted.
“This room has no taste.”
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