Writer: Etsuo Hiratani
Cast: Yurika Akane, Lee Yuha, Yurisa, Choi Yona, Miya Sakimoto, Lee Eun-woo, Sou Hirosawa
Cert: 18 (TBC)
Running time: 81mins
What’s the story: Japanese woman Miyu (Akane) travels to Seoul to find her sister and right a past wrong. While in Seoul she meets brilliant plastic surgeon Hana and her female lover Hyoshin.
What’s the verdict: Director Takeshi Sone acted as cinematographer on Shinichiro Ueda’s wild Japanese horror-comedy One Cut of the Dead, and is his own cinematographer on Ghost Mask – Scar.
But, the rough n’ tumble hand-held visuals of Ueda’s movie are here replaced with a restrained style that coolly records the tragi-horror events of Etsuo Hiratani’s script.
Taking its cue from Takashi Miike’s classic shocker Audition, Ghost Mask – Scar begins as a subdued family drama, before secrets and surprises force events into darker horror territory. Sone confidently handles these tonal shifts, delivering a bloody climax that is both hard to watch and weirdly melancholic.
Notions of beauty, identity and radical transformation swirl around this tale of paranoia and revenge, suggesting that David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers and Georges Franju’s Eyes Without A Face were also touchstones for the director and scriptwriter.
To reveal any more of the plot would be to spoil late-in the-day surprises audiences best discover themselves. But, the whole thing is performed at the correct pitch for the material by a Japanese and Korean cast (although full details of what cast members played which characters were not available at time of publishing).
Unusual and affecting, it will be interesting to see what Sone does next.