#SRCZ Film Classics #5 // Marebito (2004)

There are many films that strike the viewer as unique and Marebito is one that will have most people deep in thought of the ideas presented or bemused by the dream like state of it's main character.

Starring the ever excellent Tsukamoto Shinya as freelance cameraman Masuoka it is a film that explores concepts of perception, imagination and the Hollow Earth Theory. 

The opening sees Masuoka film a man stabbing himself in the eye in a corridor of the Tokyo underground system as panic breaks out around him. When Masuoka later decides to find out what the man was seeing when he stabbed himself he takes a dark journey into the perhaps imaginary, perhaps real - It's never clear as to his mental state during the film. - Underground tunnels to discover an underground world of ruins and most importantly a girl chained to a wall, perhaps one of the 'Dero's' mentioned often.

In comparison to Shimizu's better known work, The Grudge, this is a quiet film with a more visual impact and almost no incidental music. The silence that pervades is what provides the  tension most often and arguably makes the film all the subtle as a result. Being shot on videotape makes for an atmospheric edge, with the jittery nature of the shots making for excellent yet under stated film making. 

The tone shifts to a darker plain in the second half as the girl now named 'F' is discovered to feed on blood rather than the normal variety of nutrition Masuoka attempts in vain to feed her. A mysterious phone call gives news that his actions to save her are having the opposite effect and soon he begins a killing spree to collect the blood she needs to survive.

With a running time of just over ninety minutes the film is just the right length and in casting Shinya Tsukamoto the film is stylistically right. Never looking less than quietly troubled throughout a highlight is when he says in voice over 'Madness is contagious. Recently I am attracting a lot of it.'  But the true question is whether he himself is mad or is there truly a 'Dero' in his apartment and an underground world? The lack of conclusions is what makes Marebito different yet satisfying as film should always be. 

Released 2004 in Japan. Directed by Takashi Shimizu. 

(Words by C.Agent)