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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
Well I am a fan of Japanese cinema. I've seen a good deal of films, my favorite films being from Takashi Miike and Shinya Tsukamoto. My favorite movies in the past have been Ichi the Killer, Gozu, Audition, Tetsuo, as well as other films from them as well as other assorted directors. Well my friends offered me a trip to a distant theatre to see a stange Japanese film that was rarely talked about. Marebito was its name.

So after I watched it and left the theatre, I was speechless. Well let me get this out of the way. The movie didn't make a damn bit of sense. There were more plot holes in this movie than can be imagined. It left open a lot of discussion, but some parts were either too metaphorical, or were just random and unexplained.

Other than that gripe, this was a great movie. It had a lot of style, and just a real haunting aura to it. The plot in the movie has something to do with the main character wanting to capture fear on camera, than wishing to experience this fear. He goes beneath Tokyo, in the advanced subway system.

Before you can scream "lots-o-literary-referances," he winds up in Lovecraft inspired dreamscape where he finds a vampire girl, who is gaurded by robot creatures that walk around on all fours.

Or something like that. I'm not really too sure.

So he then takes this vampire girl home, and of course, wierd things start happening. I won't tell too much more of the plot, I'll let you experience it in all of its noncoherant glory.

The film is filled with obscure referances to historical events, as well as scientific theories. There are all of these subtle commentaries on society, but they aren't exactly executed too well.
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