2/01/2017

SADAKO Vs. KAYAKO (Review)

Title: Sadako Vs. Kayako
Director:  Kôji Shiraishi
Writer:  Takashi Shimizu, Kôji Suzuki
Cast: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa, Misato Tanaka, Masanobu Andô
Year: 2016
Min: 98

Two girls who are friends watch the cursed video tape from Ringu (AKA The Ring), first Natsumi (Aimi Satsukawa), then later, Yuri (Mizuki Yamamoto). They both have two days to live (cut down from the original film's seven days), as  Sadako (Elly Nanami) will come and kill them. After an awesomely funny and failed exorcism, they end up getting help from a man named Kyozo (Masanobu Ando) and Tamao (Maiko Kikuchi), the blind and psychic girl who assists him in his ghost hunting. The only way to save them he demises would be for Sadako to battle another vengeful spirit.
At the same time that this is going, Suzuka (Tina Tamashiro) has moved next door to the house from Ju-On (The Grudge). Haunted by nightmares, learning of the house's murder history, and hearing about some boys who disappeared, she pays it a visit. Of course, this means she is cursed by the ghost known as Kayako (Runa Endo). Ultimately, Kyozo and Tamao decide to help all these girls by getting them to cross curse each other, thus causing their evil ghost chicks to battle each other over them.
For much of Sadako Vs. Kayako, it feels like two movies spliced together. The Sadako stuff is wilder and more fun, while Kayako part is slightly weaker and little more predictable. This isn't to say that part is bad, it most certainly isn't. Whenever Kayako and her creepy-ass son are onscreen, it's still good fun. It's just the Sadako part with its more interesting female protagonists, crazy ghost hunters, and, most especially, the aforementioned exorcism really stands out. At the last third of the movie it finally does become the crossover it promises to be, and then things get really crazy! But, the ultimate truth is that this movie is more fun that it has any right to be.
The acting from the cast is good. Though Tina Tamashiro's Suzuka is slightly less interesting than the other heroes in the film, her performance is fine. But, honestly, it's Masanoby Ando as Kyozo who really steals the show. He is so much fun to watch and is really the character that you will enjoy watching the most.
The more terrifying nature of both of the movies that make up this crossover is largely left on the wayside. Though, there are a few creepy moments, here and there, most of the feeling of the movie is one of just being a good time. It is more interested in entertaining you than outright scaring the shit out of you. There is a little more blood than the US counterparts of these franchises but is hardly a gorefest. The FX contained in the film range from the pretty decent to very good.
Sadako Vs. Kayako feels like two partners that keep teasing each other a lot, only to finally get to the actually fucking. But, the fact is that movie is continuously entertaining and fun, even if the levels of the entertainment do change, at times. Yes, it is a little bit dumb and kind of silly, but come on, one of this movie's precedents is fucking King Kong Vs. Godzilla! And, this movie is, I think, better than that camp favorite. It is possible that you will be disappointed that the movie takes so long to actually crossover, but this didn't happen to me. I just enjoyed the hell out of a movie that really should be not as wonderfully entertaining as it is. Also, I can honestly say that it  is infinitely better than either the The Ring Two or any of the American The Grudge movies. Exclusively available to view on the new horror subscription channel Shudder, I say kick back, relax, and just enjoy the hell out of it!

3 out of 4

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