Creepy / クリーピー 偽りの隣人 / Kuripi Itsuwari no Rinjin (2016)
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Screenplay: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Chihiro Ikeda, Yutaka Maekawa
Cast: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Yuko Takeuchi, Teruyuki Kagawa, Haruna Kawaguchi, Masahiro Higashide
The screening of this film will be on July 26.
The title for this movie is very appropriate. A married couple moves into a new neighborhood only to quickly find out that the neighbors are not friendly. One neighbor, Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa), is particularly odd. The wife, Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi), is initially creeped out by him but warms up to him eventually when she meets his daughter, Mio (Ryoko Fujino). The husband, Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima), who used to be a detective, doesn’t like Nishino at all. Takakura initially doesn’t pay much attention to Nishino because he is approached by a former colleague to investigate an unsolved case from six years ago. It was about the mysterious disappearance of three family members who seemingly abandoned their daughter (Haruna Kawaguchi) whose memories of the incident are hazy.
Teruyuki Kagawa definitely steals the movie here with his standout performance. He certainly has the look to be a creep but the way he walks and comes in close when talking to people along with his general mannerisms really emphasize his unsettling and menacing nature. The young actresses Kawaguchi and Fujino also give convincing performances as traumatized young girls. Takeuchi and Nishijima are fine but they’re probably the least interesting. Nishijima’s character seems a bit too over confident at times. At one point in the story, you’d think he’d be smart enough to bring in more backup.
The movie is at its best once the first hint of Nishijima’s craziness is given (actually the Japanese trailer gives it away but it’s not a big spoiler) which puts him directly in Takakura’s sights. While the story runs pretty long at just over 2 hours, it never feels like any scene is a waste of time. As far as thrillers go, this one is patient but not slow in its buildup and the payoff is all the more effective for it. It maintains much of its mystery and unpredictability throughout its running time. However, there are certain aspects of the story that seem unrealistic. It might’ve been more effective if there was some link between the introductory scene and the rest of the movie.
In regards to technical aspects like camera work, I did notice a few times when the camera would zoom out, which I found interesting. A lot of the mystery is due to things that are not shown in frame but then revealed later on. There are some very obvious CG fire effects that don’t look too convincing. Overall, if you’re looking for a good mystery thriller then this is a great choice from a Cannes winning director and a very good cast.
This film was watched on a screener at the Fantasia Film Festival.