"Gurokuza (2005/DVD/Synapse Films)" Review

Synopsis: A fun getaway turns into a journey to Hell for some teenage girls visiting an isolated house to rehearse and perform a play for their private movie club.  Taking the trip with an adult chaperone, the girls learn a previous club member supposedly went missing in the house, and another insane!  Shortly after they arrive, a mysterious videotape is found with footage of a violent killer wearing a Japanese “deigan” mask.  Is this footage real or fake?  Soon, their food and equipment disappears and one of the girls is haunted by ghostly visions of the masked demon.  Someone or something is in the house, and gruesome death awaits those who cannot escape!

Review: Synapse films over the past decade has brought out some very cool releases out in their Asian Cult Cinema Collection and this time around they have chosen another good one. Of that collection of films I have to say this is the most tame of all of them. What you get is  a film that takes the traditional Japanese ghost story and mixes it with the classic slasher elements. Unlike alot of other films that take on the ghost story I actually liked what this film had to offer. That could be also because they added some great gore along the side of some very creepy scenes laced with haunting atmosphere.
Unlike most horror films you get an all female cast of characters that are not all the same and do have conflicts with one another. That in which adds to the mystery of who or what is killing everyone off. One minute I would think it's one thing then I would be thrown for a loop and think something else. Which I think really helped to keep me hooked and drawn into the story. Going back to the plot what they do is use the classic Ringu element of the group of girls finding a video tape and after they watch it things start to go bad. On the other side it doesn't take any certain influence from a particular slasher film , but does have the classic elements.
The only thing that sucks about this film is the "re-watch ability" factor, because it lands in that category of a film that is quite good but won't work for watching over and over like alot of the classic horror films. Other than that this film is well worth a watch, even for those like myself who are not into japanese ghost films that much. Overall this was a pretty cool horror flick that delivers quite well on the shock and scare factors! Once again great job Synspse!

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Yoichi Nishiyama
Genre: Horror/Slasher
DVD Release Year: 2012
Theatrical Release Year:1989
Time Length: 84 mins.
Company: Synapse Films
Website: www.synapse-films.com

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