It seems like it has been several years since the huge Asian boom of horror films. Back in 2000 and a couple years following the remake of The Ring tons of fans began proclaiming that the Asian directors were the real deal. I knew it wouldn’t be long until some new directors from somewhere else began releasing great films that people would stop gobbling up Asian cinema. Sure enough Europe began pumping out some truly great films which was followed by the even more recent flood of films from France. Now it is rare to find an Asian film that isn’t rehashed or developed directly for American consumers. However Voices does do a little more and brings a long some surprising story elements with a nice twist at the end as well.
The film opens with a bloody murder in which a young child see’s his mother stabbed right in front of him by his father. Apparently their has been a rash of off color murders all over Japan and no one seems to know what is going on. Then we meet Ga-In, a teenage school girl who has everything going for her, she gets good grades, is a talented fencer, she has a successful boyfriend and a family that loves her. On the outside everything is good for her. That is until one day when her Auntie dies on her wedding day and we learn that the family may be cursed. What follows is madness as everyone close to her begins to become “inhabited” by the curse and try to kill her. Will she find out what the cause of the curse is before its to late?
I have to say I was really shocked at how good this movie turned out to be. I had not heard much about it and frankly I have not been much of a fan of the After Dark Horrorfest selection after last year. With this Japanese entry they may have just brought their name up a few notches in my books. Now the film is not without its flaws of course. Once again this is a Japanese films and like most other films from Japan it has a very offbeat way in going from point A to point B.
The message behind this film however is not left up in the air like many films from Japan. I actually would have been more pleased with this film had they left the last scene out of the film. It would have left many more questions which I felt was important for the film. Instead they tack on one extra scene which seems to slam the meaning of the film home for those who did not catch on to the subtext of what the director was trying to say. Thankfully this message makes this film worth watching twice to see what all the implications were. Unlike the Saw franchise where it is all wrapped up in flashback sequences they leave it all open. It works nicely.
The ending is something I did not see coming and I highly doubt you will either. The film itself may be a bit slow but once the ending comes around I think it makes up for the slow pace of most the movie. If you have been staying away from most Asian films like I have lately you may want to give this one a shot. I had been doing the same thing since the only thing they seem to be putting out anymore are ghost stories. While this is not a creep fest or even really scary at all I think it does make you think a lot about several things in your life.
Overall I would definitely suggest that you rent this one. Some people are just not into Asian films and this will probably not be for you. There is some shaky moments that most fans of Japanese horror will be very familiar with. It’s all here. But if you are already a dedicated J-Horror fan this is definitely one you can go ahead pick up right now. It might not give you nightmares but it is a good way to spend a good hour and a half.