Tomie: Beginning (2005)

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Tomie: Beginning

Director: Oikawa Ataru

Starring: Matsumoto Rio, Imajuku Asami, Mizuhashi Kenji, and Morishita Yoshiyuki

This restart of the Tomie film series covers the events immediately preceding the first Tomie feature in 1999; the final scene of the picture leads directly into that film. Possibly Japanese horror manga master Junji Ito’s most recognized work, this V-cinema release is the 5th installment of the series, and perhaps the most accurate to the source material so far.

A former student returns to her high school and the scene of a tragedy years before but only finds one other student has come as promised. As they begin to recount their days at school, the discussion quickly turns to ‘her’ and the horror that was brought to the school by her arrival. Rio Matsumoto plays the titular enchanting embodiment of evil who transfers into a new school and instantly bewitches all the males of the school while drawing the ire of the women. Finding a friend in loner Reiko (Imajuku), Tomie’s spell begins to drive her classmates crazy and soon the violence that is typical of the Tomie series begins.

Matsumoto’s Tomie is everything Tomie needs to be in a flesh and blood version; stunningly beautiful, simultaneously sweet and sadistic, and with a penchant for theatrics. It’s probably the best interpretation of the character thus far and it shows in the quality of the film. Imajuku’s Reiko is a solid as the friend who was perhaps the only one close to Tomie during her time at the school; she’s engaging and definitely stands out among the many other students present in the film.

The film runs fairly short, a mere 74 minutes and keeps a good pace. It actually quite accurately adapts a chapter from the manga and the tonal look of the film and performances is very faithful. While the film doesn’t necessarily give the authentic scares that non-Ito viewers may want, it does offer a good dose of pitch black humor, ultraviolence, and everything that makes Junji Ito special resulting in the best entry in the Tomie film series thus far.

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Long time film lover and occasional writer. I watch anything and everything though I have massive love for the works of Shunji Iwai, Jackie Chan, Johnnie To, and Kinji Fukasaku. POP! POP!

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