Slit Mouthed WomanJapanese
Bizarre Urban Legend: Slit-Mouthed Woman
Also known as: Kaiki toshi-densetsu: Kuchisake-onna
Medium: film
Year: 2008
Keywords: Slit Mouthed Woman, horror, low-budget
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Live-action anthology film, 50 minutes
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 25 June 2024
Bizarre Urban Legend Slit Mouthed Woman
It's unimpressive, cheap as hell and not the work of professional movie-makers. Its creators thought it would be cool to make a film, so they did. Nothing wrong with that. I've been there. This means I'm going to be more generous than most viewers, who'd dismiss this film as a load of rubbish. All things considered, I think the creators did quite well. The acting's okay, even though none of the cast have significant movie credits. The script's core is worthwhile. I'd never recommend this film to anyone, but it's not the disaster area you'd think.
Our heroes are Shiori Ayukawa (bubbly, cute, wants to investigate a series of murders) and Seiji Akimoto (lets himself get dragged along). They're wearing school uniforms, but look about 25 and 45 years old respectively. Shiori has a clue, which is a song.
"A homeless person near the crime scene told that only to me. He heard a woman sing that song when the crime happened."
Shiori and Seiji are reasonably likeable and I didn't mind watching them, but Shiori's stupid and offensive when Seiji takes her to talk to the manager of an unsuccessful idol. His name's Masamichi Yonemura, his apartment's a dump and he's got yakuza debt collectors on his tail. Shiori's rude about Yonemura while he can hear. D'oh.
What's good about this film is the relationship between Yonemura and his ex-client, Mika Shiratori. She only did one song. Even calling her a one-hit wonder would be overpraise. They've been through failure and worse. Shiratori wasn't much good as an idol and got bitchy at Yonemura, putting all the blame on him. A bad thing happened, so now a Kuchisake-onna is prowling the streets and going into giggling stabbing frenzies. The bodies are piling up and anyone with sense would escape... but Yonemura's looking after Shiratori. He loves her. He hides her. He gives her a place to live and presumably feeds her, since there's no indication that she's supernatural. She's deranged, not undead. I presume he's ruined himself to look after her, since he could otherwise have gone out and got a job. He also knows what she does.
Their relationship isn't comfortable. It'll probably end in stabbing and Yonemura must know that. (Shiratori isn't processing reality any more.) There's anger on both sides, but he's still protecting her.
The only problem is the casting of Mika Shiratori herself. She works fine as a Kuchisake-onna, but you wouldn't choose her to become an idol. This film would have been stronger with a Shiratori who better suggested all sides of the character... but, in fairness, being an unconvincing idol fits since the character failed at that anyway.
This definitely isn't a good film. It has the lamest CGI explosion you've ever seen. Kuchisake-onna's knife always looks as if they've smeared strawberry jam on it. (Doesn't the blood ever dry? Don't they wipe it clean?) If you showed this film to 100 people, they'd all yell at you for wasting their time... but the more I think about it, the more I like it.