Slit Mouthed WomanJapanese
Kuchisake-onna vs. Mary-san
Also known as: Slit-Mouthed Woman vs. Mary-san
Medium: film
Year: 2017
Director: Wataru Kudo
Writer: Wataru Kudo, Takato Nishi
Actor: Yota Kawase, Aya Kunitake, Maki Shinta, Chie Tsuji, Kouki Tsurunishi, Yutaro Watanabe
Keywords: Slit Mouthed Woman, horror
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 67 minutes
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 28 June 2024
Kuchisake onna vs Mary san
Until it fell apart at the end, that was great. All these 2010s "vs." J-horror films might look like a series, but it was actually a bandwagon. All sorts of filmmakers jumped on it. There are lots of other Japanese "vs" films, of course, often with Godzilla, but this was definitely a thing. My best guess is that it all came from Tomie vs. Tomie (2007), with perhaps some silly help from Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009).
Big Tits Dragon: Zombies vs. Strippers (2010) probably didn't influence anything, though.
Anyway, you can't generalise between these 2010s J-horror "vs." films. Some are fun and surprisingly good, while others are cash-in garbage. This one I liked a lot.
Come on, she's our favourite girl. Mouth slit open from ear to ear. Carries a sickle and kills people. Traditionally asks if you think she's beautiful, but this is one of those "vs." films that can't be bothered with that. She's just another mute slasher killer, indistinguishable from Jason and Michael Myers (except visually).
Ooooh, she's good. After finishing this, I went looking for other Mary-san films (which exist) and was disappointed not to find them. Mary-san is a girl with a doll. She'll repeatedly telephone you, each time telling you where she is in relation to you. You might not have spotted her, but she's getting closer and closer. Eventually, she'll be right behind you, or alongside you, or whatever.
That's creepy as hell. It's enough to give you a phobia of phones. Also, this film's Mary can take telekinetic control of your limbs and make you snap your own neck.
This is the film's magic ingredient. Monsters are one thing, but these people are also bad news (and sometimes it's a blurry line between them and the ghosts). Some are nice. Some are trustworthy. Some are shocking. These categories overlap. There are also lots of pairs of siblings. There's a girl who's determined to uncover the truth, but won't listen to anyone who disagrees with her preconceived ideas. She's tough, mind you. She goes alone into a scary house, ignoring sensible advice, and that got genuinely unnerving. Her brother's getting married soon, but he says he's being followed by Mary-san. (She doesn't believe him.)
There's also a professional psychic who doesn't get on with his brother and used to know the sisters who are now Kuchisake-onna and Mary-san. All this is great. The film's full of twists, scares and freaky stuff. It had me going "BLOODY HELL" at regular intervals... until the ending collapsed into a pile of "really?", "but why?" and "the running time needed to be significantly longer to sell that".
Nonetheless, though, this is a pretty good horror film. It's scary, it has some squirm moments (e.g. the kuchisake-ing) and it's so good at creating bastards that at one point I was relieved to see Mary-san and Kuchisake-onna appear. (I was wrong and they're not here to help.) It also has a proper "Kuchisake-onna vs. Mary-san" fight, which not all these "vs." films bother with. They seriously go at each other, albeit only once. 1. a sickle-wielding legend who's slaughtered her way through over two dozen films, vs. 2. a telekinetic neck-snapper who can take control of your limbs. That's a fight you'd pay money to see.
This one's definitely worth a look. They even made me forgive the lack of Kuchisake-onna's trademark questions.