Director: Takeshi Furusawa
Starring: Ai Hashimoto, Kento Yamazaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Ai Kato, Natsumi Takamori
Transfer student Koichi Sakakibara (Kento Yamazaki) enters Class 3-3 shortly after a short hospital stay for an existing medical condition. During his hospitalization, he sees a mysterious girl with an eyepatch that comes to him in a vision. Filing it away, he is shocked to discover that the very same girl (Ai Hashimoto) is in his very own class. Even stranger, he seems to be the only one able to see her! As the two delve deeper into the mystery, he and the mysteriously beautiful girl will uncover the secret that has haunted their school and students for over 20 years.
Director Takeshi Furusawa helms this live action adaptation of the hit novel by Yukito Ayatsuji. Previously adapted into a hit anime, Another is the latest supernatural tinged film from Furusawa. While I cannot comment on the either the novel or the anime, I have to say that this film certainly left me a bit cold.
Ai Hashimoto and Kenta Yamazaki reunite again, having previously worked together in the conversely themed Control Tower. Performances are generally bland with both leads and the extended cast all showcasing a timid daze throughout the proceedings. It’s all very lackluster and I had a hard time getting into the somewhat decent plot around the less than enthused performances. It’s a bit disconcerting considering Yamazaki and Hashimoto have been generally considered among the better young Japanese talent out there. Hopefully they have a better body of work elsewhere, but this film certainly won’t be earning either any acting awards soon.
The plot, concerning a school’s somewhat dangerous past, is actually kind of interesting but the execution of this film makes commitment to the events difficult. Characters behave ridiculously, deaths are more smirk inducing than scary, and the few visual effects shots are unconvincing and amateurish. What this horror is missing, unfortunately, is real horror. What should be scary and fearful is instead tame to the point of boredom and disinterest. Dreadfully slow-paced, I did enjoy the bits of ‘detective work’ the leads go through during the film, but it is not enough to save this generally underwhelming experience.
For the most part, the film has a bit of a barren look to the sets. Many are underpopulated and there is a decided staleness to the look of the film. Utilizing mostly static work and slow pans, the photography is average and run of the mill. A high note was the music; it is appropriately creepy and would fit well in another horror film but is wasted on a movie like this.
In the end, Another is a very forgettable and disappointing school set horror picture. It lacks urgency and investment and is all together unengaging. I am unsure as to how accurately this adaptation fared in terms of the source, but better choices could have been made to make a more interesting and exciting picture. Lacking little in any real entertainment value, this picture may be best skipped in favor of ANOTHER.
You may enjoy this film if you liked: Shrill Cries, Goth, and/or Voice