General consensus dictates that neighbours are meant to be trusted. You, as a citizen of the area, are to band together with others like yourself to form a small but tight community. You see one another on a daily basis, you interact with each other whenever you can, and because of this a specific bond is formed between yourself and your neighbours that breeds positivity in your local area.
There’s nothing safer than your home, but there’s nothing that can put you more at ease than knowing that your general area is too just as safe. Fact is…the people you interact with while mowing the lawn or watering the garden aren’t the same when behind closed doors. That’s not too scary though, it’s a simple truth of this world, the frightening thing however is the severity of that difference. In Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s latest theatrical project “Creepy“, we’re taught that the world’s most dangerous people aren’t only shown on the nightly news…they could be right next door.
A special “thank you” must be extended to The Japan Foundation Sydney for allowing us the opportunity to experience this film as a part of the 2016 Japanese Film Festival. Kiyoshi Kurosawa is considered royalty in the world of cult classic horror/thriller films, and any chance to see his work is one that is greatly appreciated.
Having resigned as a profiler following injury, Koichi Takakura and his wife Yasuko have moved to be closer to his new job as a university lecturer in criminal psychology, but approached by a former colleague to consult on a cold case, the vanishing of three members of a family leaving only unreliable witness Saki Honda, Koichi begins to see parallels with their new neighbour, the unpredictable and secretive Masayuki Nishino. – Shochiku International
Creepy follows a surprisingly tame storyline that does not feature unnecessary violence nor does it feature gratuitous gore to shock and awe audiences. This film’s most powerful asset is that it uses dialogue, or lack there of, to deliver moments of absolute terror rather than eccentric visuals to drive a point home. For all intents and purposes, Creepy is more a Mystery film than it is a Horror or even a Thriller, of which Kiyoshi Kurosawa is well known for. The focus is not necessarily on the killer as much as it is on a man’s attempt to catch him, all the while riding the waves of curiosity, anxiety, helplessness, and ultimately destruction.
Running at just over two hours long, Creepy is quite the slow burn. The first hour of the film tends to drag it’s feet somewhat while the electric foundation of the second half is slowly being constructed. At almost exactly an hour in the film takes quite the turn, transforming from the Detective Drama I mentioned earlier into something now more akin to a Horror story, though once again retaining a great deal of reality while using subtlety to make grander statements. This, in turn, allows it to retain mostly the same essence as the start of the film while adding layers on top to give it a greater sense of depth.
Though the twists and turns of Creepy could be seen from a mile away, it helped to add definition to it’s affect on the audience. Simply put; it is like being able to see the future and yet having no ability to alter or stop what is to come. This worked in the films favour because it cultivated an undeniable sense of helplessness that aided in complete and utter immersion.
This film, playing host to what I would consider a rudimentary storyline, is held up well by many factors outside of it’s storytelling, the most notable of which is the high-quality level of acting from Creepy’s small cast. Each character was given an appropriate amount of time to impact the story in worthwhile ways, and the actors and actresses that portrayed said characters did wonderful jobs at depicting exactly what they were supposed to, be it shock horror, bleak despair, baffling confusion, or anything in between.
Backing up the acting quality that fuelled this film was a strange soundtrack that, in most cases, would not even be considered one. Creepy featured a distinct lack of music, with most of the film, apart from dialogue, being in complete silence. Key moments in the story brought with them creeping tones used only to build ambience, but they were few and far between, leaving most of it’s auditory presence to the dialogue of the performers. This made the film seem almost real in quite the unrealistic way. There were no tracks to separate the audience from the story, and it felt as though at any given moment something could happen, keeping the audience on edge for almost the entire length of the film.
Creepy was also visually engaging. It featured incredible set pieces that seemingly well-depicted suburban life in Japan while also allowing for a chilling mist to slowly seep into scenes as the movie’s story progressed forward. Those mixed with Kurosawa’s masterful use of camera techniques made this film almost impossible to turn away from even for a brief moment. Creepy had a presence unlike any other film, and it was thanks to it’s faint use of sophisticated film techniques.
Perhaps the greatest thing I can say about Kurosawa’s Creepy is that it captured my attention long before I ever came to the realisation that it had. Regardless of where my mind wandered while watching, I was drawn to continue focusing on the film. It was almost as though it demanded it, but in a way that didn’t seem forceful. Essentially, Creepy burrows into your head and makes it seem like you have made the decision to watch and enjoy it, never realising that you are acting on it’s will and not your own. This, without giving too much away, perfectly mirrors the events of the film’s story, and those of you out there that have watched it will know exactly to what I refer.
Creepy is a film that refuses to conform to modern filmmaking’s idea of a worthwhile Horror/Thriller film. Kiyoshi Kurosawa uses a strange but fitting style of high-class directorial techniques to make what I would consider to be one of the better Mystery films of all time, and to truly drive my point home; this is coming from a man who simply does not like any of the genres Creepy happens to fall into, and yet I found this film to be that of an incredible one. Experience means everything, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa truly has mastered the art of filmmaking.