We were invited by Cinescape on Friday to the premiere of Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night. The movie was first released in Japan in 2010, and this month marks its first release internationally.
The Japanese film industry is well known for making horror and thriller movies. Hollywood has done a number of remakes of such flicks, such as The Grudge. This time, in a reversal of roles, director Toshikazu Nagae has created a Japanese version of the famed Paranormal Activity franchise.
Based on the 2007 American version, Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night stars Aoi Nakamura and Noriko Aoyama as brother and sister. Haruka Yamano (Noriko Aoyama) is a Japanese international student who was studying n San Diego, California, until a car accident broke both of her legs and she had to return to her home town of Tokyo, Japan. As soon as she returns, her father leaves on a business trip abroad, and she stays with her teenage brother Koichi (Aoi Nakamura).
The story follows the siblings at home after they become aware of some strange and doubtful events that take place. They place a camera inside their home to film these events while they are sleeping, only to find out that what they were experiencing was a paranormal spirit.
The movie is an independent production, therefore classified as low budget, so you won’t expect any high tech visual and sound effects. However, there are some thumbs up moments in addition to disappointing ones.
Starting with the positive points, the movie has a successful sequence of events which many horror movies lack. This aspect makes you feel the continuity of the events and main plot line. Moreover, although the camera was irritating most of the time (it feels like a home video), the direction was clear and well made. In my opinion, it also surpasses the US version in terms of the horror factor and thrilling scenes. Furthermore, the viewer can touch the Japanese theme in terms of the location, spoken language, and culture.
When it comes to the negative points, I felt that the movie is boring since it lacks a strong plot, has minimal events and a low amount of horror scenes. In addition to that, the duration of the film is long for such a movie genre.
Both the American and Japanese versions could have been executed much better if they focused more on enriching the plot lines and stories, rather than recreating plots that have been done countless times before. I also thought that the movie could have done much better, had they gotten rid of the bedroom scenes where the viewer spends a large amount of the movie's time just watching the actors sleeping!
Overall, if you are a horror/thriller movie fan, this one is not worth your time, but if you are a Paranormal Activity fan, you will definitely like the Japanese version.
Verdict: 2 out of 5 stars
Note: The dialogue in the movie is entirely in Japanese, but with English and Arabic subtitles.
– Khaleejesque Staff
Image Credits: Cinescape