Innocent Curse (" Kodomo Tsukai")

North American Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2017
  • 111 mins
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Competition: Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2017
Official Selection: Shanghai International Film Festival 2017

A child's scream pierces the quietude of a Japanese suburb. The kid disappears, reappears, and her mother dies soon thereafter. Immediately, a rumour starts going around. "First, Tommy takes a child away. Second, it comes back, but the person that finds it goes crazy and dies three days later...". Suspicious, local reporter Shunya (Daiki Arioka) starts investigating, refusing to buy into the theory of the supernatural, or the more absurd possibility that kids might be killing off their parents. However, when his girlfriend Naomi (Mugi Kadowaki), a kindergarten teacher, brings back a stranded child of her own from work, things get eerie. It isn't long before they meet a shadowy figure themselves, an avenger of lost children... and the nightmare begins.

Horror maestro Takashi Shimizu (of the JU-ON series) returns this year with INNOCENT CURSE, a supremely atmospheric, classical Japanese ghost tale, drawing as much from Japan's own repertoire of iconic ghouls such as Kayako and Sadako, as it does from the legend of the Pied Piper and other occidental villains such as Freddy Krueger! Proving he still has a unique eye for suspense and mood, Shimizu unleashes a vision that is immediately gripping: at once a throwback to the golden age of J-horror and a modern, intoxicating downward spiral, exploring the horrors of child abuse in burnt yellow and sickly green hues, against a backdrop of ghost children (make that plural this time!) and rotting amusement park rides. This is a funhouse too scary to resist, from one of Japan's living legends of horror cinema – back in top shape!

- Ariel Esteban Cayer

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