Don’t Look Up (1996)

I stepped out of the norm tonight and watched the first (of many) subtitled horror film for this project. Sometimes you just gotta mix it up a bit, be a little wild. Like taking a different way home from work; you end up with the same result, but traveled another way.

Hailing from Japan, Don’t Look Up (Joyu-rei) is ghost story from Hideo Nakata, the man responsible for Ringu and the explosion of J-Horror in the United States. This, however, was his first feature film, though, an astute viewer would immediately recognize his style and love of creepy chicks with long dark hair.

A film within a film. The story centers on a young director who is working on a feature film that becomes plagued by mysterious ghost sightings and mishaps. Early on, while viewing the dailies, the crew is baffled by discovering what appears to be previously exposed film from another movie on their reel. The director remembers seeing the film that has infiltrated their stock when he was just a child. The catch, the film never existed, nor was it ever shown on television. The ghost that is haunting the production just so happens to be the same as the actress on the old film.

Queue the creepy music.

The film takes a non-linear approach to all of this, which I enjoyed to an extent. A significant portion of the film is spent on two actresses, which turned out to be a pretty big waste of time once all was settled. If you are going to spend that much time, make something of it! I would have much rather learned more about the director or the ghost.

The chance of getting chills is high, as Nakata weaves in his motifs well. Watching this film is akin to seeing a master working on his practice as a child. It isn’t polished, but the potential is there.

Don’t Look Up is subtly crafted tale with plenty of chills for fans of the genre. This film was remade (of course) recently. I plan on watching and reviewing it within the next couple weeks.

Snore Factor: ZZZ

IMDB 1996

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