Film Review: Ox-Head Village (2022) by Takashi Shimizu

One particular of the most achieved and acclaimed masters of contemporary J-Horror, director Takashi Shimizu has been on the cutting edge of the genre&#8217s recognition given that he initial emerged with his celebrated &#8220Ju-On&#8221 entries that initially launched the movement in the early 2000s. Maintaining his hand in the genre fairly constant in the occasions given that, amongst his most current contributions is a loosely-connected trilogy of films identified as the Village of Terror series that began with Howling Village, continued with Suicide Forest Village and now concludes with the most current entry &#8220Ox-Head Village&#8221 which celebrates its North American premiere at the New York Asian Film Festival.

Ox-Head Village is screening on New York Asian Film Festival

In a so-named &#8220spirit video&#8221, Kanon (Koki) is astonished to see a higher-college girl who appears specifically like her. The girl&#8217s ox-head mask is torn away, she is closed into an abandoned hotel, and the footage ends. Who is she? Uneasiness provides way to dread. As if becoming led, she travels to the scene of the video, the Tsubono Mineral Springs. There she discovers secrets and customs that catch her up in a net of madness and worry.

All round, &#8220Ox-Head Village&#8221 ends the series rather strongly. This begins with an intriguing setup from writers Shimizu and Daisuke Hosaka that offers anything with a rather chilling atmosphere to operate with. The initial setup of the fateful village and the cursed implies by means of which it spreads all through the world-wide-web to attain Kanon by implies of the viral video is a relatively sturdy 1. That comes off rather nicely with the stranger in the video who appears specifically like her which gives up the sort of inquiry to appear additional into the legends surrounding it. With lots of make-up focusing on the story involving the spirit that haunts the village cursing everybody who hears it to die shortly afterward, none of this is original but serves properly adequate in this sort of function. This is completed by supplying the sort of baseline for the ghosts and spirits of the location to seem naturally in the film. The later reveal about the superstitions of the residents involving twins and how they play a portion in the curse operating by means of the town carries this sort of attractive setup rather properly.

This offers &#8220Ox-Head&#8221 with the chance to function some chilling sequences and setpieces. The opening viral video of the schoolgirls exploring the abandoned constructing on a ghost hunt and encountering the vengeful spirit is an appropriately creepy intro. The scene offers some productive interplay involving the on-screen chat with the viewers and a ghostly twist that comes off really properly. Later interactions along the way to the fabled village present up similarly fine sequences, though the highlight sequence of Kanon and Ren exploring the hotel is an absolute standout. With some chilling photos of the ghost lurking in the background watching more than them, some ingenious interplay of the ghosts&#8217 haunting continually affecting the location and the lengthy nature all combine collectively into a wonderful portion of the film. As the curse gets stronger and begins taking the lives of her buddies and these about Kanon, this sets up the strong finale featuring the confrontations in the underground caves and the emotional resonance discovered in the story ultimately becoming resolved to bring peace to the location.

Even though these present up constructive points, &#8220Ox-Head Village&#8221 has some drawbacks. The largest letdown is Shimizu&#8217s underwhelming pace that lets it make up far also lengthy of a operating time. The exploits at the starting diving deep into Kanon&#8217s troubled house life and college problems attempting to maintain Ren from charming her as she&#8217s definitely only interested in him for sensible rather than romantic implies, just drag this 1 out. Likewise, despite the fact that immensely creepy in their personal appropriate, a lot of of the scare scenes and shocks are shot in techniques that take really a though to play out which is somewhat distressing. The cadence and tempo of the scenes come up brief on many occasions, in particular in the abandoned hotel that appears to take forever which is also the case of the backstory flashback that fills in the gaps of the plot. Even though answering the inquiries of who everybody is, their relationships, and the tragedy that brings them collectively, iσ all so slow and drawn out that it adds unnecessary length mostly by the speed of the scene rather than the actions. It&#8217s all that bring this 1 down in the finish.

With some enjoyable aspects and not also a lot of detriments, “Ox-Head Village” characteristics a lot of enjoyable components despite the fact that these drawbacks do come into play in the lengthy run. Viewers who are curious about finishing off the trilogy, take pleasure in the method taken right here, or are fans of the inventive crew will have lots to appreciate right here.



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