By Sam Reeve
My rating: 6/10
I’m kind of a sucker for ghost movies, and Ghost Child met my minimal requirements by having at least one character I could root for and enough creepy shit that it felt like a true horror movie…and then came the ending, which made up for any shortfalls. [SPOILER ALERT] There was a god damn fetus ghost-monster-thing. Creepy as shit. Had a weird pig nose and everything. Terrible CGI, but still. That thing will haunt my dreams.
Ghost Child is based on the South-East Asian myth of the toyol, a mischievous ghost that’s conjured up using a fetus and black magic. They’re typically used by the owner to gain wealth, and can be notoriously difficult to get rid of. Choon meets Na, a mysterious Indonesian woman with a dark secret, when he saves her from some thugs. He brings her back to Singapore to his estranged mother and teenage daughter, but weird things start happening upon his arrival. Choon’s mom gets the shit haunted out of her most of the film, but Choon and his daughter Kim, things get weird at a slower rate. A loner at school who receives low grades, Kim suddenly aces a test and beats the swimming captain in a race. Meanwhile, her father seems to have good fortune as well, and suddenly becomes rich when his asshole boss has an “accident”.
But as soon as things seem to be taking a turn for the better (except for the old lady, who got the shit-end of the haunting stick), everything goes terribly and that ghostly fetus decides it wants more blood! Can Na call it off and save them? You’ll just have to find out…
Although it wasn’t the most terrifying thing I’ve seen, Ghost Child was a satisfying movie and easy to digest. The ghost fucking over Kim’s antagonists at school felt particularly good going down, but of course until the toyol explanation at the end, it was fairly confusing when she started getting haunted, too. Overall, not a waste of time, and the movie closes with some creepy implications.
Here’s a great trailer that’ll give you a good idea of what you’re in for, and below that is the full movie on Youtube with simultaneous English subtitles and some other language I can’t distinguish. Enjoy!
By Sam Reeve
Carved, aka The Slit-Mouthed Woman, is today’s film for Japanese Horror Month. I first came across this when reading about Koji Shiraishi, who directed Noroi, another film to appear this month that I quite enjoyed. Unfortunately Carved is not as good, but still not an utter failure.
Carved is a paranormal slasher flick with child abuse being one of the major themes, as every main character is either a current or past abuser or victim. An evil ghost, the slit-mouthed woman, possesses women’s bodies and kidnaps children so she can abuse and murder them. Two teachers are solving the mystery so they may save the children, but are put in danger themselves.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT: Mostly I found Carved to be pretty average and not very spooky or jumpy. What I did find disturbing was the scenes of child abuse (there are quite a few), and the one brutal flashback scene where a little boy has to kill his own mom. The makeup and special effects were a bit creepy, but nothing to swoon over.
The film was most definitely watchable, so if you’re looking for something just average, not terribly gory, or just want to see more j-horror, give Carved a try.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK: What annoyed me the most were things that are apparent in pretty much all slasher flicks – the characters in peril don’t seem to understand the concepts of “go out the way you came in” and “be quiet when the killer is near”. Of course, maybe slasher flicks just couldn’t exist without that kind of crap, but one can dream.
Below you can find the full movie with English subtitles. One more week until Halloween!