Shigeo OsakoKoji ShiraishiSenritsu Kaiki File KowasugiChika Kuboyama
Senritsu Kaiki File Super Kowa Too! Fear Adventure: Kokkuri-san
Medium: film
Year: 2015
Writer/director: Koji Shiraishi
Actor: Shigeo Osako, Chika Kuboyama, Koji Shiraishi, Guama
Keywords: Senritsu Kaiki File Kowasugi, horror, cinema verite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 81 minutes
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 10 July 2024
Senritsu File Kowasugi 8
It's not the strongest film in this series. It's a bit of a reboot, going back to basics for a "monster of the week" story as in the early instalments. Except with fewer interviews and more running away and screaming. The film also introduces new ongoing series elements in the form of Ichikawa's brother and the hairy fox tail.
Most importantly, Kudo's in danger of becoming a parody of himself.
But it's funny. Sometimes very funny.
Anyway, the premise. Kokkuri-san is quite a well-known thing and doesn't in itself suggest horror. The Kowasugi series can be interesting and even educational when digging into the mythology of Japanese Forteana. Here's how this film describes it:
Kokkuri-san is a type of fortune-telling where a lesser spirit is summoned to give revelations. You need white paper, a pen, a 10 yen coin and a table. For the ritual, write these on a white sheet of paper: "yes", "no", a Japanese "torii" gate in between, a row of numbers underneath and then the Japanese alphabet. Three people sit at the table and put the coin on the gate. Everyone then puts their index finger on the coin and says, "Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri-san, please come. If you're here, please answer 'Yes'." The coin will move to "Yes." After that, the coin moves through the alphabet, answering whatever question you ask. To finish answering, you must say, "Please return to the gate". The coin will obey and, when all the questions have been answered, you should say, "Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri-san, please return." Kokkuri-san will reply "yes" and return to the gate, whereupon you must say, "Thank you very much."
If you stop touching the coin before the end, you'll be cursed by Kokkuri-san. The paper you used must immediately be torn into small pieces and you should spend the coin within three days. Kokkuri-san will curse anyone who doesn't, or who mocks the ghost.
All this originally came from the West, incidentally. 1850s table-turning and Ouija boards in the 1890s. Anyway, here's the testimony of this film's idiots:
"This is the abandoned middle school where we studied. As three third-graders, we amateur occultists performed the Kokkuri-san ritual. Well, except that one of us isn't here today. We asked Kokkuri-san to help us pass our exams, and she agreed. The three of us managed to get into the school we wanted. [...] But that's not the end of the story. For Kokkuri-san to grant your wish, you have to promise her something in return. And we promised. "3 years later, the three of you must gather here again." That's what Kokkuri-san said and we promised that we'd definitely come. Thus, three years later, we're at our old school for Kokkuri-san... except that one of us, Nina, couldn't make it. She said she had a date with her boyfriend and didn't want to go."
Guess how much Kokkuri-san likes this.
The laughs come from Kudo, who's unusually excitable. He's taken out massive loans to fund his relaunched SUPER!!! ("cool, eh?") kowasugi series and he's even more full of testosterone than usual. Sometimes his characterisation threatens to go over the top, but he still made me laugh. That boy who thought he was hot shit trying to act tough with him... bwahahahaha. Kudo Logic doesn't resemble our Earth logic when it involves incorporeal spirits and baseball bats. Kudo-style Kokkuri-san is hilarious. (Also probably suicidal, but that's Kudo for you.) He clubs himself in the stomach and over the head, because he's that much of a hard case. (And admittedly also for more important reasons.)
Occasionally, this film is a comedy. A J-horror mockumentary comedy, with a star who's silly, stupid and violent. I love him. Apart from the laughs, though, this is a below-average Kowasugi instalment and I don't see how it fits with the reality reset that had apparently happened at the end of the previous film. Did I watch these films in the wrong order? (Kokkuri-san itself looks like a Muppet, incidentally, but that's not out of line with this series's mad special effects. The abandoned school can be spooky.)
It's probably the only Kowasugi film that gives a proper explanation. I enjoyed it, but Shiraishi's done both crazier and better.