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Deep within the wind-swept marshes of war-torn medieval Japan, an impoverished mother and her daughter-in-law eke out a lonely, desperate existence. Forced to murder lost samurai and sell their belongings for grain, they dump the corpses down a deep, dark hole and live off of their meager spoils. When a bedraggled neighbor returns from the skirmishes, lust, jealousy, and rage threaten to destroy the trio's tenuous existence, before an ominous, ill-gotten demon mask seals their horrifying fate. Driven by primal emotions, dark eroticism, a frenzied score by Hikaru Hayashi, and stunning images both lyrical and macabre, Kaneto Shindos chilling folktale, Onibaba, is a singular cinematic experience.
A curse hangs over Kaneto Shindo's primal Japanese classic like a looming storm cloud, but the supernatural has got nothing on the desperation and savagery of the human animal trying to survive the horrors of war. In 16th-century Japan, a hardened middle-aged woman and her young daughter-in-law have turned predator to survive, murdering the soldiers who wander into the sea of pampas grass surrounding their hut and selling their weapons for rice. When their war-deserter neighbor returns home and makes his moves on the young woman, their numb equilibrium is complicated by greed, jealousy, and lust. The consequences are terrible and not exactly surprising, but they are gripping. Shindo's unnerving close-ups, bobbing handheld camerawork, and soundtrack of pounding drums and howling flutes gives Onibaba a queasy intensity. Shooting in stark black and white, he makes even the waving of the grass look ominous as it all but swallows everyone who enters. --Sean Axmaker
ONIBABA (DEMON HAG; THE HOLE; DEVIL WOMAN; ...) Well-Crafted Story Telling!
Rating = ****
Director: Kaneto Shindou
Film = four (4)... Read more
I first saw this movie back in the late 80's, early 90's and have been searching for it since. My recollections of it was that 1) it was very scary and suspenseful because of the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lilly Lo
very good movie but not a horror movie ask the guy that made it not me but it is about the harsness of life and sex lots of boob scens not strange for a japanesse moviePublished 10 months ago by Kennet R. Beeney
For plot details please see the other reviews. Captivating, sensual, interesting. Many people have said this is a "horror" film, but I disagree entirely. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Allegrobas
I liked this 1964 ground-breaking drama about two women trying to survive in the middle of merciless Nanbokucho Wars which devastated Japan during most of XIV century. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Maciej
what begins within the first hour of this film to be a story of some sort of forbidden love, later becomes a truly macabre and creepy story of demonic horror. Read morePublished on May 7, 2013 by Sinead Summer
Awesome movie!!! If you like Japanese cinema then this is a must have in your collection! Very creepy film and beautifully done.Published on April 29, 2013 by Deal Grabber!
This is one of the best movies ever made. While many focus on the Noh mask, the main elements of this movie are its eroticism and natural scenery. Read morePublished on March 9, 2013 by The Curmudgeon