Here's the thing about metaphysical thrillers: They sound interesting in principle, but as soon as you sit down to watch one, you quickly realize that one person's metaphysics is another person's glass shards in the anal canal. In other words, though pondering the nature of existence might feel like a higher calling to the person doing it, to other people watching it just looks like you're masturbating.
It's pretty apparent that Kiyoshi Kurosawa made one too many low budget Yakuza films and decided that it was time for him to contemplate the nature of man. Consequently, he's come up with this horror film in which a serial killer appears to be using hypnosis to compel ordinary people to commit heinous crimes.
In much the same way as "Seven," this film unfolds in a long, slow, agonizing process after the main suspect is caught by police. Detective Takabe (Koji Yakusho) repeatedly attempts to question the weird guy to no avail. The weird guy turns out to be much like the philosophy TA who, woefully unprepared to deliver his lecture to his class of 500 freshman, proceeds to regurgitate every basic philosophy question in the book: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?", "Are we our thoughts or our body?", "If a tree falls in the woods, does anyone hear it?", and "Can you tell I've never been laid?"
Not surprisingly, this film elicits much the same reaction as a bad philosophy class. One wants to get up and run screaming from the room.
DVD Comments: DVD includes an interview with the director.
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