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3.5 out of 5 stars (55) IMDb 6.1/10

A fear-obsessed freelance cameraman investigates an urban legend involving mysterious spirits that haunt the subways of Tokyo.

Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Tomomi Miyashita
1 hour, 31 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Fantasy, Drama, International, Mystery, Horror
Director Takashi Shimizu
Starring Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Tomomi Miyashita
Supporting actors Kazuhiro Nakahara, Miho Ninagawa, Shun Sugata, Masayoshi Haneda, Ayumu Saitô
Studio Tartan Films
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
On one level, which isn't revealed until nearly the end, you can interpret Marebito as a relatively simple film about a man, Masuoka (Shinya Tsukamoto), who has had a psychotic break and commits an outrageous, though relatively contained, series of crimes. Just that story, if it were told transparently, would be enough to hold your interest--as it is so twisted and disturbing.

But director Takashi Shimizu, best known for his Juon/Grudge series, typically doesn't want to just relay a simple story. In Marebito, there are deep layers of allusion, metaphor and partially symbolic/partially literal content. In addition to the psychotic madman stuff, at various times the film has elements of, or can be read as, a meditation on obsession, technological (especially video) fetishism, or voyeurism; a skeptical exploration of the attraction of horror and horror as entertainment (the protagonist can't quite grasp the attraction, but sees it in others, and wants to understand and experience it); a Dantean descent into Hell; a ghost story; a vampire story (both literal and psychological); and even a kind of love story with an extremely deviant eroticism. I'm probably forgetting to mention some possibilities, and I probably overlooked others, but that gives you an idea of the complexity of Marebito.

Reading the above, it might sound like the film should be a mess. It would be difficult for most writers and directors to fuse so many different elements together into a cohesive whole. But Shimizu and screenwriter Chiaki Konaka, who also wrote the novel that Marebito is based on, achieve a remarkably natural, ever-shifting flow.
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Format: DVD
"Marebito" is, on the surface, a relatively straightforward example of the ever expanding world of Japanese horror. "Straightforward," however, may not be the first thing that springs to mind for a casual viewer. While the "story" of "Marebito" seems rather simplistic with atmosphere and mood supplanting narrative momentum, its themes suggest a myriad of different influences and interpretations. The film, by Takashi Shimizu ("Ju-on," "The Grudge"), is thematically an "everything but the kitchen sink" amalgamation of styles and dramatic allusions. The film references myths, the supernatural, vampirism, voyeurism, life after death, obsession, the nature of reality, and the descent into madness. By tackling, and co-mingling, so many different concepts--"Marebito" becomes an interesting and unique film that flirts structurally with being completely convoluted. There you have it, I've called this film "simple" and "convoluted" in the same paragraph--but that's the mixed message the film conveys and the mixed feelings I was left with after viewing this movie.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy "Marebito" and admire its ambition, I just don't think it's wholly successful. The story, itself, is fairly sparse. A videographer witnesses and films a bizarre suicide while working with a local news station. He becomes obsessed with understanding the fear that would drive someone to such an action. Feeling emotionally muted, and wanting to know more about terror and even death, he takes a strange journey beneath the city to try and uncover the source of the man's horror. He has several (real or imagined) ethereal encounters on this journey, but ultimately finds a young woman being held captive. Taking her home with him, he discovers she is not what she may seem.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very cool and weird movie. Everybody has already written what this movie is about so I wont explain its plot. Instead, im going to contribute my interpretation of it.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!! READ THIS ONLY WHEN YOU FINISHED WATCHING THIS MOVIE. Im going to explain this in parts, so read along......

Ok, this cameraman is a lonely individual that wants to experience fear, absolute terror, but cant do it by the "normal means", so he seeks terror in uncommon places, like suicide attempts and filming people. He uses Prozac to help his medical condition, and when he throws it in the garbage at the beginning of the movie, he starts seeing and hearing things that are not there, like the conversation in the underground with the suicidal man ghost, or the Deros. Also, this is why he doesn't remember his ex wife.

Everything the camera films is real, because film cant lie, so I assume that the underground is real, as we can see this underground filmed. Also, the vampire girl is real, because she is filmed also, fangs an all. At the end of the movie, you can see that the cameras are still filming his descent into the underground, so this weird world of downstairs is real also. The ghosts or the Deros are not filmed, so they are only in the insane mind of the protagonist. There's a line in the movie where he says that everything is more real when he films it, and also we only see the faces of other people he is looking at correctly through his camera lenses, because they are real to him only through the camera lenses. All this supports this theory too. He even says when he sees this weird snuff film at the beginning of the film, that he will become a psychopath to really experience terror. This explains his later killings.
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