Another (2012)

When his father has to work in India for a year, Sakakibara Koichi (Yamazaki Kento) is forced to transfer to his late mother’s quiet hometown to live with his grandmother and his Aunt Reiko (Kato Ai). As soon as he arrives, he collapses due to pneumothorax and is hospitalized. In the hospital, Sakakibara sees a strange girl with an eye patch (Hashimoto Ai), who is carrying a doll and she enters the morgue. Weeks later, he sees her again in his new class, but when he asks his new classmates, they do not seem to be able to see her. Is Sakakibara imagining things? Does the girl really exist?

Narrative
For the record, the animated version of ‘Another’ is one of my favorite horror anime. While that version lasted 12 episodes clocking in at around 25 minutes each, the movie is only around 109 minutes. You would think that the film makers would have a lot of material to work on, given they were relatively faithful to the anime. That is not the case for the live action adaptation of ‘Another’, as the pace achieves levels so glacial one will probably start wondering why this movie bothered to call itself a work of horror in the first place. There is a very clear connection between each of the scenes, but in this case, that doesn’t help. You can smell the deaths and the shockers a mile away, which takes away the suspense factor and instead makes the random bloody killings anticlimactic.

Acting
Possibly the only legitimate saving grace of this movie are its two leads, Yamazaki and Hashimoto. Granted, neither of their characters is allowed depth or interesting back stories, but I suppose that’s not unusual for horror. My roommate, whom I watched the movie with, was complaining that Yamazaki had his reactions reversed. He overdoes his pneumothorax attacks, for something that should be regular to his character. Meanwhile, his poker face upon seeing his classmates die one by one is questionable. Hashimoto – who isn’t new to the horror genre, given she played the world-infamous Sadako in the 2012 3D version that should never have seen the light of day – delivers her mysterious character well. Of course, all she does is look hauntingly beautiful as she tilts her perfect hair from side to side while she juggles the expressions of anxiety and curiosity at the same time, so this role is not one of her most exciting ones.

Cinematography
This movie is pretty – like one of those art house films Japan produces, except without the depth. In the long haul, this might not have been a very good idea, because the calm of majority of the scenes ends up contrasting badly to the bloody horror moments. In the color palette, there is only a vague sense of something dangerous that is about to happen. It may even be a bit too bright. So in effect, the movie is pretty, but there’s a bit of a disjoint between the story and how it looks.

The visuals steadily get worse as the horror moments intensify. The CGI is not top-notch. One can tell, right away, which elements do not belong naturally in which scenes. The blood is not believable, the ways through which the characters’ deaths are delivered are comical, and the climax scene is the worst part of the movie – if only because it’s highly based on CGI, and the CGI, as has been mentioned, is not very good.

Overall
This is not a good movie. It may prove to be a less infuriating experience if you haven’t seen the anime version – which is loads better – but if you have, then prepare to suffer.

This blog gives ‘Another’ 1 out of 5 stars. Based on how I usually give stars, this movie might actually rate lower, except my rating spectrum only ranges from 1 to 5. PS I really do think this review’s irreverence is justified.

Title: Another.
Language: Japanese.
Produce and distributed by: Kadokawa Pictures | Toho.
Genre: Horror | Teen | School.
Starring: Yamazaki Kento | Hashimoto Ai | Kato Ai.
Written by: Ayatsuji Yukito (2009 novel) | Tanaka Sachiko.
Directed by: Furusawa Takeshi.

Video (c) Best Asian Movies @ YouTube.

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