Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Film Review: Shirome (2010)

Shirome: Spirit of the Underworld (Review)
Japan/2010
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...fans of Japanese horror and culture will appreciate and enjoy the most."

Director Kôji Shiraishi wants to shoot a TV special starring up-and-coming Japanese idol group Momoiro Clover. Shiraishi wants to take the six members to investigate a haunted school where a deity by the name of Shirome resides....

Shirome: Spirit of the Underworld (or White Eyes) is a mockumentary -- a found-footage horror film -- following Momoiro Clover as they prepare to visit and actually enter the haunted school. Shirome is based on a Japanese urban legend, which I am a fan of, which tells of a deity with white eyes in an abandoned school who will grant your wish... but, if your wish isn't sincere, Shirome will drag you to hell. I like the story, it's simple and straight to the point. It's a bit uneventful, but it has a handful of creepy moments. The ending of the film is good, but not very effective or impacting.

Shirome mostly relies on its creepy moments, like hearing footsteps as you sleep, malfunctioning equipment, and spooky stories. There are a few jump-scares, but it really relies on its creepiness and suspense more than anything else. Fortunately, Shirome has a very short and forgiving runtime so it doesn't feel repetitive or long-winded. There are some creepy visuals, but I can already tell most big-budget horror fans won't enjoy them much -- they're often very subtle and low-budget. It stays consistent throughout, which makes the film tolerable. Ultimately, it may send a chill down your spine or creep you out a bit, but it never becomes truly frightening -- it never really becomes a very effective horror film.

I liked the girls in Momoiro Clover -- they captured enthusiasm, happiness, and even fear very well. However, the moments when they cry, and they cry occasionally, are over-the-top, almost obnoxious. Otherwise, the acting was better than expecting. There is some music, not very unique or memorable, but it is ominous and creepy. The visual effects aren't spectacular, but fans of low-budget Japanese horror will feel right at home. I like the concept, and the "sell your soul to the Devil for fame" theme, and the writing is very simple and easy-to-follow. Kôji Shiraishi plays his character well, and also directs the film well.

Overall, Shirome: Spirit of the Underworld , or White Eyes, is a good Japanese horror film. Ultimately, I think this is a horror film fans of Japanese horror and culture will appreciate and enjoy the most. Maybe you should take this review with a pinch of salt because the film features three of my favorite things: Japanese horror, Urban Legends, and Japanese Girls.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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