You may just refrain from seemingly friendly interactions with your neighbours after seeing Creepy
What starts out as being polite neighbourly interaction soon turns into something far darker and sinister in the new film Creepy.When Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) retires from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Force he believes that he and his wife Yasuko (Yûko Takeuchi) will be able to enjoy a calmer and less dangerous life in a quiet suburban neighbourhood. Taking on a teaching role as a professor of criminal psychology Takakura is more than qualified to teach a class full of budding students but this new life is without the buzz and excitement he was once used to. At home, Yasuko is eager to make new friends and doesn’t hesitate from introducing herself to her new neighbours but is met with a less than friendly response. One female neighbour is far from keen while the other, Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa), is slightly awkward and cautious of new faces but accepts Yasuko’s neighbourly offerings.Finding his new vocation slightly unfulfilling Takakura takes an interest in an unsolved case one of his teaching colleagues is looking into. Although determined to keep it on a purely academic level and out of nothing more than personal interest, Takakura takes a closer look into the case of three missing family members. When news of his semi-investigation makes its way back to the police department, a former colleague seeks his help on the very same case. As Takakura starts to piece together the various bits of information he realises that he may know who is behind the disappearance of the family and that the person responsible is very close to home.
Creepy is based on a novel by Yutaka Maekawa and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa who also co-wrote the screenplay with Chihiro Ikeda. Kurosawa recently won an award at the Cannes Film Festival last year for his fantasy romance film Journey To The Shore. Creepy marks a return to the horror genre for Kurosawa with his latest release. It’s not so much a horror film, but it’s definitely horrifying in places. Creepy is a psychological and investigative thriller that manages to build and sustain the tension until the final moments.
A lot of long sustained takes and tracking shots aid in gradually building this tension and atmosphere, but until the final act you’re not entirely sure what it’s building up to, which is the genius of this film. Creepy plays on the idea of feeling safe in your own home and loosing all control. I did find it slightly frustrating that there wasn’t a huge amount of explanation behind the story, but I suppose to a certain degree, not knowing has a bigger and more lasting impact than knowing. I left the screening feeling that the film definitely lacked in certain departments and could have gone deeper into Yasuko’s story than it did which I think would have given the film a bit more depth than it has.
For a long time you’re not sure who the victim is in this slow burner of a thriller
It’s really down to the acting that this film works so well. The tensions caused between Takakura and Yasuko as a result of their move are heightened as the film progresses, with the added threat from the case that Takakura has inadvertently taken on. The growing obsession to solve the case of the missing family takes a hold of Takakura, so much so that he doesn’t notice the small changes in his wife who is left alone while he works during the day. Kagawa is brilliant as Nishino, the very creepy neighbour with a young daughter and ill wife to take care of. As the tensions and suspicions rise Nishino finds himself the target of Takakura’s investigation but as he starts to slowly isolate himself, knowing who to trust becomes a challenging task.
Creepy is a good thriller and one that doesn’t go out of it’s way to tie up all the loose ends. For some this may be frustrating, and while I am firm believer that less is more, some strands of this story seem to teeter off to nowhere. It’s not a gore fest and at times does feel a bit slow but it’s worth seeing through with its almost satisfying payoff.
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