Shigeo OsakoChika KuboyamaSenritsu Kaiki File Kowasugikappa
Senritsu Kaiki File Kowasugi File 03: Legend of a Human-Eating Kappa
Medium: film
Year: 2013
Writer/director: Koji Shiraishi
Actor: Shigeo Osako, Chika Kuboyama, Koji Shiraishi, Yuya Ishikawa
Keywords: Senritsu Kaiki File Kowasugi, kappa, horror, cinema verite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 73 minutes
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 3 July 2024
Senritsu File Kowasugi 3
This series gets better and better. I liked this even more than the last one, despite its silly-sounding concept of a kappa horror film. They're one of Japan's best-known youkai and more often portrayed as cute, not malevolent. They might help people. They eat cucumbers, have dish-like depressions on their heads, pull magical balls from your bottom and can be made to write a promise not to misbehave.
However, kappa folklore has a darker side. They're capable of drowning people and animals, kidnapping children, raping women and eating human flesh. Today, signs warning "DANGER!! DO NOT SWIM HERE" might present themselves as warnings about kappa. Also, the horror angle I'd overlooked is that they're aquatic. I find water monsters scarier. You've no idea what's lurking right next to you under the surface, or when it might jump out. Furthermore, this film is hand-held camera footage, often night filming in green monochrome, so there's no need to worry about how silly the kappa costume might look. You're never going to see it clearly enough to judge.
Most of the time, you'll see nothing unusual. This can be scary in itself. When you do glimpse something, it might be an ambiguous ripple.. or else a kappa actually might be attacking and you've only got a fraction of a second before someone's been taken out.
It's not unlike a J-horror version of Creature from the Black Lagoon, except that you won't love this Creature.
The film starts with Kudo hospitalised from the end of the previous film, but he won't stay there long. He's still trying to use those cursed hair totems from the first film. He's irrational, but he definitely propels stories. (While he's absent, you might start wondering if Ichikawa would really do something this dangerous. Once he's back, that's not an issue because Kudo couldn't care less about all that.) He even gets punched, which made me happy, but I was wrong about him having yakuza tattoos.
There's an ultra-unfriendly local. There's a lively couple who think kappa sound fun and needed to think more about safety. Once again, the hand-held format and realistic tone make a potentially silly threat seem pretty damn grim. (These kappa drown children.) I'm tempted to rank this series among the best J-horror I've seen, partly because to be honest there aren't that many great J-horror films... but also because it's always doing interesting things with its realistic tone. It's also scary and has a WHAT THE HELL ending. If you get a chance, check it out.