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PHOTOGRAPHY

MAREBITO

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 92 minutes, three interviews, original theatrical trailer

STUDIO: Tartan Films

RELEASE DATE: 3-14-2006

MAREBITO is the best adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft story that Lovecraft should have written (but didn't). Masuoka (Shinya Tsukamoto) is an independent cameraman who craves to know the unknown fear that possessed a man to commit suicide in a subway. He goes over the footage he shot of that suicide and decides to take a trip into the underground tunnels below Tokyo. He goes through a gateway to an underground world and brings back a naked young woman (who was found chained in a cavern). He tries to teach her to be human, but he finds she has been raised in an inhuman way and only drinks blood (with a taste especially for human blood). Masuoka's madness grows as he is started to be followed by the ghost of the suicide victim and a woman who claims to be his wife.

MAREBITO is another atmospheric horror film from director Takashi Shimizu (THE GRUDGE, JU-ON) that descends from reality into madness. It evokes the uneasiness found in many Asian horror films and stories written by H.P. Lovecraft. The film slowly builds with each minute as I soaked in the details. If you're expecting a movie that is gory and action driven, MAREBITO isn't that type of film. It crawls under your skin slowly. Not bad for a movie shot in 8 days.

VIDEO: 1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The transfer captures the Digi-Betacam and cameraman footage perfectly. Image detail isn't bad at all.

AUDIO: Japanese 5.1 Dolby Surround, Japanese 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Everyday sounds and background noise pops out on the track, but it isn't overly aggressive. Sometimes it is rather subdued.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Other than the original theatrical trailer for MAREBITO and previews for other Tartan titles, we are treated to three interviews. The interview with director Shimizu is the least interesting (he seems to ramble with his answers). Shinya Tsukamoto's interview is more interesting and he is humble (and nice guy). Yet Producer Hiroshi Takahasi's interview is the most fascinating of the trio as he talks about the Original Video movement and the rise of J-Horror (he doesn't like the term, feels uncomfortable about it).

FINAL ANALYSIS: MAREBITO is a more twisted and unsettling film than THE GRUDGE. Definitely not one for every person who watched THE GRUDGE. Only for those who really love watching horror.

this review is (c)3-25-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com