Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Film Review: The Locker (2004)

The Locker (Review)
Japan/2004
Format Viewed For Review: DVD
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"A very traditional Japanese horror film..."

Coming home from a camping trip, six friends stop by a locally legendary locker said to fulfill the users romantic wishes, but they incidentally unleash a different nightmare...

The Locker mainly follows Rieka (Asami Mizukawa) as the nightmare unfolds. Slowly, her friends begin to disappear after hearing the cries of a baby. When they reappear, they seem out of place or drugged out of their minds. Rieka and her remaining friends from the camping trip then must find out what is haunting them and how to stop it. A very traditional Japanese horror film and an interesting take on a creepy urban legend, The Locker is a short but entertaining movie that leads to a satisfying and promising ending.

There isn't much to discuss about the story. It's a familiar, run of the mill Japanese horror film. The urban legend is interesting -- it could've been explained a bit better or a bit more thoroughly, though, as it was occasionally confusing. Otherwise, the horror in this film consist of eerie audio and creepy visuals, both of which I really enjoyed. There is some light suspense and a few jump-scares, but it's just that -- light. I didn't find it particularly frightening, I won't lose any sleep at night, but I was entertained, especially due to my love for urban legends and Asian ghosts.

The acting was good from the entire cast. Asami Mizukawa stands out with a great performance. Some of the acting is overdone, but that's more of a character trope. The soundtrack wasn't anything special, but it did help create the ominous atmosphere; I do like the rest of the audio, like the baby crying, it really amplifies the overall creepiness. Visually, it's not overwhelming, but the few ghost we do see are great. Director Kei Horie creates a decent horror film -- he doesn't stray far from the J-horror formula, but he creates an entertaining installment in the genre -- not really a distinct style, but he uses it well.

Overall, The Locker is a good Japanese horror film. Those familiar with the region and its output of horror may find themselves exhausted by the similarities to other films; but, if you're not familiar or exhausted by the genre, this is a short and entertaining treat -- a very effective time killer.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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