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Welcome to Zoo. In order to survive, you have 5 choices. This collection of shocking, unpredictable stories features the first screen adaptation of author Otsuichi's works. Working with five different directors, Zoo features five stories (four live-action, one animated) of fear, sadness and pain. Kazari and Yoko: The mother of twin sisters, Kazari and Yoko, loves only one of her daughters, and abuses the other. When the abused tries to break free, things take shocking turns. Seven Rooms: One day, a young boy and his older sister find themselves trapped in a small, concrete room. There are seven rooms in all, each containing a different prisoner. On the sixth day, everyone will be massacred. Can they survive? When the Sun Shines: CG animation about a unique man learning about life and death in a world where most of humanity has already died out. So Far: A young boy's father is convinced that his mother is dead. The mother is convinced the father is dead. The boy is the only person that both father and mother can see. Zoo: A man kills a woman at an abandoned zoo and takes pictures of her dead body everyday. Then suddenly the zoo is gone and the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. Special Features: Making of So Far and Seven Rooms, Trailers, TV spots. Languages: Japanese with English subtitles.
Unpredictable and miles better than many of the Japanese scary tales of terror and horror that have actually been released in the States. --Blackholereviews.blogspot.com
Like one of the old Amicus anthologies from the '60s/'70s, Zoo takes the popular short story collection by Otsu-ichi and turns five of its installments into very interesting mini-motion pictures... this insightful horror omnibus deserves any serious fright fans attention. --DVD Talk
Unknown gems like this need significantly more recognition. --Ryan's Movie Reviews
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Guide: No f-bombs or sex. Brief animated nudity.
If you're going into Zoo looking for an Asian horror film, or something like the wonderful miniseries Mr. Stain on Junk Alley (as I did, thanks to the guy on the cover--and I will add my voice to those who were very disappointed he never actually shows up in the movie), you're most likely going to be disappointed by this flick. It reminded me more of the work of Pan-ek Ratanaruang; it's all very sedate, very slow-moving, with the odd flash of almost inexplicable violence now and then. No, Rampo Noir this is not. But for what it is, it's not bad at all.
The movie consists of five entirely unrelated stories, each directed by an up-and-coming Japanese director. The central story of the lot, "SO-far", by first-timer Komiya Masatetsu, is probably the best of the lot, though the ending does chicken out a bit. In it, a child (first-time actor Kenta Sugasagi with the kind of performance that can make a career) and his mother (Kyoka Suzuki, soon to be in the much-talked-about Japanese remake of Sideways) lose the family's father (Reincarnation's Tetta Sugimoto) in a horrible car accident. At the exact time of the accident, the child sees his father in the living room. That's nothing unusual, but the apparition doesn't actually go away. Once the mother comes to believe, the child begins to act as a bridge between the world of the living and the world of the dead. This has some unexpected consequences, and soon the child stops being able to see both parents at once.
The above synopsis doesn't sound much like a horror film, does it? I reiterate: this is no horror film. Even the movie's most explicitly horrific piece ("Zoo") is a slow-paced and intellectual piece of filmmaking rather than an actual horror movie. You will not find resolution in these mini-films, all of which trade extensively on ambiguity. There are those of us who like that sort of thing a great deal, and for us, I strongly recommend seeing this. However, it's certainly not a film for everyone. ***