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3.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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(May 17, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Based on Mark McShane’s novel, Séance on a Wet Afternoon (Kôrei), Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s international award-winning thriller stars Kôji Yakusho (Shall We Dance) as Kôji Sato, a sound effects engineer, and Jun Fubuki (Pulse) as his psychic wife. When a missing young girl escapes her kidnappers and hides in Kôji’s equipment case while he is recording sounds in the woods, the stage is set for a scheme to promote her psychic abilities. But the couple’s hoax goes terrifyingly awry in this unsettling and atmospheric shocker from one of Japan’s new masters of horror.

Special Features

  • Interview with director Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Kiyoshi Kurosawa Trailer Gallery: Charisma, Séance and Cure
  • Liner Notes by film critic Gabe Klinger

Product Details

  • Actors: Kôji Yakusho, Jun Fubuki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, Hikari Ishida, Kitarô
  • Directors: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Writers: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Mark McShane, Tetsuya Onishi
  • Producers: Atsuyuki Shimoda, Takehiko Tanaka, Yasuyuki Uemura
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: May 17, 2005
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007XT7PY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,011 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Seance" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Sutton on August 18, 2005
Format: DVD
Ever since Hideo Nakata's Ringu achieved international acclaim, Japanese film companies have pushed hard to capitalize on that film's success. While much of this effort has, admittedly, produced other high-quality and interesting horror films, even the worthwhile efforts tend to follow set formulaic schemes. Many Japanese directors get so caught up in sleekly packaging mere repeats of previous scare scenes that they forget to experiment or even create a coherent world or story for the horror to occupy. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, however, constantly puts a new spin on the genre. From Cure to Charisma, Kairo to Doppleganger, horror's role in Kurosawa's films is always changing. The ways in which he experiments makes even his weaker efforts, as SEANCE regrettably shows itself to be, required viewing for film enthusiasts.

The film is most interesting in its first half, which is more marital drama than supernatural thriller. Junko Sato (Jun Fubuki) is a medium who, between the seances she performs, works with graduate student Hayakawa (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi) on a study chronically the potential for mediums to help the police in solving serious crimes. Junko's husband, Katsuhiko (Koji Yakusho), is a sound engineer on the way up, having recently finished his first major television project. Unfortunately for him, he leaves a large case unlocked as he records audio near Mount Fuji, and a young kidnapped girl, fleeing from her captor, picks it as a safe hiding place. Without noticing, he locks the case and takes it home with him; the poor girl remains locked inside until Junko, looking into the same kidnapping case at Hayakawa's behest, feels the girl's presence and discovers her unconscious body.
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Format: DVD
In the city, a little girl is coaxed from a playground and into a waiting automobile of a stranger who has his sights set on a large ransom payoff. Koji Yakusho (Doppleganger, Cure & Kairo) stars as Sato, a humble sound technician who, on a trip to the country to get some "wind sounds" on tape for a coworker, unknowingly becomes involved in the kidnapping. When the police are at a loss for leads in the case, Hayasaka, a psychology/paranormal studies student, takes the initiative to call on Sato's wife Junco (Jun Fubuki), a "medium" with whom Hayasaka has been working with to support his theories, to pour over some of the little girl's personal effects in order to locate her. When she fails to provide help, she allows herself time to re-examine her abilities and to take a respite from her homemaker status by taking a position at a local eatery. Junco begins to have morbid visions on the job, without her usual "paranormal preparations" and decides that her newer, more sensitive abilities are too much to handle at her job. Later that day, back at home, Junco and Sato find suddenly find themselves even further involved.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Kourei is loosely based on the tense, gloomy but brilliant film Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964). Both are based on a Mark McShane novel by the same name. It's remade with a slower, tenser, more methodical manner, which Kurosawa has nearly perfected. We only have to look as far as his masterpieces, Kiaro & Kyua (Cure), to witness a Kurosawa film's natural evolution into a fully realized, and cohesive body of work. Not known for artificially pumping up his films to create mood or action, he's remained true to his style and allowed the movie to progress on it's own accord. That patience may be to Seance's detriment.
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Format: DVD
Seance is a fairly good, entertaining movie-but for some reason it lacks any sense of suspense-despite the interesting premise--a kidnapped child is found by a couple who at least think the wife is a genuine psychic--and they then plot to prove her psychic abilities--by providing information they've either planted or know about the child. Their "finding" the child is a real weak part of the film--unless one assumes a child can hide in a trunk and an adult wouldn't notice the extra weight when lifting it. All in all- a decent movie worth watching--but there are better movies available besides the well known "Ju-On" and/or "Ringu"--such as "Chaos" or "Cure" However, if you're a big fan of Asian "horror"--you'll probably want to add this to your collection!
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Format: DVD
Séance (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2000)

Séance on a Wet Afternoon is one of those staid British suspense pictures that pretty much everyone over thirty has caught at least parts of, either on video, in revivals, or flipping through TV channels on a Saturday afternoon. At this point, it's less a movie than it is a cultural institution. Still, it would probably not be entirely accurate to say that Kiyoshi Kurosawa here takes on Bryan Forbes (Kurosawa himself says in the DVD extras he'd never seen the original adaptation when he was presented with the idea, and only read the book after accepting the commission to do the film). It would probably also not be entirely accurate to say that in such a hypothetical battle, Kurosawa wiped the mat with Forbes.

Koji Yakusho and Jun Fubuki, both of whom previously worked with Kurosawa on Charisma, here play Sato and his wife Junko, taking the roles of Richard Attenborough and Kim Stanley in the original film. I have not read the book, and thus cannot say which version is more faithful to it here, but the fact that these two characters (and that of the hapless victim) exist is the final similarity between the two films, save for the climactic final scene from which it derives its name. Yes, the main plot point is the same: Junko is a psychic who becomes involved in the hunt for a missing girl. One of the two adapters of Mark McShane's book, however, decided to play a bit of "what if...?" with the mechanism of the girl's disappearance, however. The 1964 film presents us Bill/Sato and Myra/Junko as morally two-dimensional at the beginning; there are bad things afoot, and we know where everyone stands.
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