Slit Mouthed WomanJapanese
Hikiko-san vs. Kuchisake-onna
Medium: film
Year: 2011
Director: Hisaaki Nagaoka
Writer: Hisaaki Nagaoka, Yuta Takahashi
Actor: Atsushi Narasaka, Setsuko Sanada, Isawo Tahara, Shun Kitagawa
Keywords: Slit Mouthed Woman, horror, rubbish
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 89 minutes
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 27 June 2024
Hikiko san vs Kuchisake onna
I couldn't take the performances. I could hardly watch it. The film's nothing special even without that, but Nako Jouzuka doesn't even understand the concept of acting... and she's arguably the heroine! The only thing she's achieved is saying her lines. She inhabits neither her character nor the situation. She's intolerable, as is any director who finds her performance acceptable. Looking him up, I see that Hisaaki Nagaoka specialises in horror films, often about Hikiko Mori. He's also used her in Scream Girls, Scream Girls 2, Hikiko-san vs. Kokkuri-san and Hikiko-san vs. Sadako.
I have a nasty feeling some of those are in my "to watch" queue... well, we'll see.
I don't need to explain about Kuchisake-onna and the film assumes that too. Hikiko Mori, though, we need filling in on. She's the ghost of a Japanese schoolgirl who was treated so violently that her face got disfigured. There are different versions of her story. Maybe she was bullied at school, or maybe her parents did it. Anyway, her spirit has a grudge against bullies and/or children in general. She'll appear on rainy days to drag away, mutilate and kill.
This is a more ambitious film than yesterday's Kuchisake-onna vs. Kashima-san. It's got an actual story, not just running from killer ghosts. Ten years ago, two little girls were involved in a mass fatality. Now, they've woken up in hospital. Their minds are pre-pubescent, but their bodies are adult and their muscles have wasted away in bed. They need crutches and physiotherapy... and they're scared of Hikiko-san.
What they don't know, though, is that their nurse has Kuchisake-onna locked up in a cell in the woods and every so often brings her a severed arm in a bucket. What Kuchisake-onna does with these is gross, but logical and the film's one good idea.
The oogie-boogies are sort of okay. This version of Kuchisake-onna is even more alarming than normal, which is saying a lot. Hikiko... well, I didn't really care about her, but you can't go too far wrong with mutilated grey-faced J-horror ghosts. Even this terrible film can't mess up her appearances.
As a narrative, though, it's dead. I believed in neither its characters nor its scenes. The girls show no reaction to waking up as adults. There's clumsy info-dump dialogue where characters tell each other things they already know. There's an anti-gore scene where a girl deliberately stabs a pencil into her own skull, which looks both physically impossible (skulls are strong) and silly (no blood). The acting's a bad joke. Even the incidental music is lazy. The film doesn't even have enough life to be unintentionally amusing. It's not "so bad it's good", but instead "so bad that it's lifeless and dull".