Friday, 12 July 2013

EIFF 2013: The Complex (Kuroyuri danchi)

Once a feted pioneer of the horror genre (thanks primarily to Ringu’s ground-breaking success), a series of missteps has since seen Hideo Nakata’s stock tumble. Whether Americanising his own canon (The Ring Two) or laying spooks aside for thrills of a more psychological nature (Chatroom, The Incite Mill), the Japanese director has floundered more often than he’s flourished over the last decade, so it’s a relief to see him back in comfortable territory with The Complex.

But with a full house of familiar tropes on show (creepy kids, mysterious neighbours, bumps in the night and a dilapidated old building to put them all in), it quickly starts to seem a little too comfortable. While the central yarn delivers the right mix of pathos and frights, it also feels derivative of past works – in particular Dark Water’s similarly-themed tale of guilt, grief and vengeful child-spirits. An intense finale, however, confirms Nakata’s still a skilled nerve-shredder, with its hysterical, hellish visions proving neatly effective.

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