Director: Kazuto Kodama
Starring:?.Japan. 1h 4m
This collection of unrelated creepy tales seems to have been a for runner for the popular V/H/S series (despite them being released in the same year) This Japanese collection just feels like a raw pre runner to the more polished American effort, but as per usual the raw unabridged versions always have that curious edge to them, and like time and time before, Japan finds a new way to creep out the cinematic world.
A team has painstakingly recovered and viewed a number of home\hand made movies accidentally capturing spooky events, but they don’t leave it there, they track down the stories behind each video trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.
It has an incredibly Japanese approach, each movie has a text intro and a warning before each gory moment giving faint at heart viewer a chance to skip the worst moments, (imagine doing that for the Serbian Film (2010). it would twice as long) and the spooky events are typically Japanese also, floating screaming heads, cursed grave sites and the only country with a pass to have white clad long haired spirits aka yūrei, and uses them sparingly, instead the emphasis is on making this look like a genuine investigation and raw footage, with candid interviews, phone research and multiple lines of enquiry.
It’s never really detailed why they are producing the anthology,other than to show off their hard work. The film’s themselves look really on point, apart from a few really bad effects here and there, the authenticity of the video’s are a highlight, either they were filmed on vintage devices or the touch up is out of this world.
The stories range from a fishing trip with an extra ghostly passenger, and in more complex stories elaborate rituals are performed in the woods awakening screaming heads and after all of the night’s shenanigans there’s a nasty twist in the end of the story, but the kicker for most audiences is a particular gory story involving a pregnant woman who owes money to a violence sado sexiual yakusa boss, the opening story is an emotional kicker involving the ghost of a homeless girl seeks help from beyond the grave, it’s sad and moving as well as creepy and has a touch of Lake Mungo (2008) about it. Overall the Tokyo Videos of Horror is never really all that frighteningly scary, as it just feels so surreal, but you might want to check your playback during the day from now on.
Luckily there’s a series of films to watch now and much like the Yami Shibai series there are good and bad collections but all have that very unique Japanese strangeness about them. Probably something more attuned and welcomed by the found footage fans than the average horror collector but overall something that just has to be experienced to be fully understood.