This film is hard to google, because you keep finding other kuchisake-onna films instead. So far I've found seven more, the majority made suspiciously soon after this one. Did this modest little pink film perhaps start something? (I'd guess more credit probably goes to the 2007 film, though.) There's at least:
- Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (2007)
- Carved 2: The Scissors Massacre (2008)
- The Slit-Mouthed Woman 0: The Beginning (2008)
- Bizarre Urban Legend: Slit-Mouthed Woman (2008)
- Kuchisake-onna Returns (2012)
- Slit-Mouthed Woman in L.A. (2014)
- Slit-Mouthed Woman vs. Kashima-san (2017)
Kuchisake-onna is a Japanese legend that caused a panic in 1979. She's a woman with a Glasgow smile, i.e. someone's enlarged her mouth by cutting her cheeks open. The original legends describe plenty of specific behaviour and even have recommended methods for surviving an encounter with her... but all that's been ignored here. This is a pink film and its priority is sex.
This kuchisake-onna doesn't talk. She doesn't ask questions of her victims. Instead, she's yet another mute, long-haired J-horror ghost and indistinguishable from Ringu's Sadako, Ju-on's Kayako, etc. Her hair can reach out to get you. She's got the slit mouth, though, which is indeed pretty unpleasant. She's also capable of a weird vibrating judder kill that I don't remember ever seeing elsewhere.
Is this a sex film or a horror film? Well, it's both. (It even finds a way to combine the two.) It's actually a decent horror movie... but it needed fewer sex scenes. Even if they're plot-important, there's just too much of them and they can be implausible. (If you'd sneaked into a creepy, dark, dank, abandoned hospital where people had been killed, would you call that the time and place for a shag? Similarly, there's a scene near the end where someone agrees to adultery so casually that it's almost funny. It's both reprehensible and stupid. Firstly, she might come home at any time. Secondly, this is a horror film where we've seen repeatedly that sex can prove fatal.)
The budget was obviously low. The HORROR MUSIC!!!! is cheap and obvious, although fortunately they don't use it much. Even I noticed the bad editing. The production quality isn't great. Its long-haired ghost is a cliche that's been done to death... but, despite this, it's used quite well. It works. The film even has themes. The abandoned hospital was specifically for cosmetic surgery, which reflects both the traditional kuchisake-onna's vanity and the version they're doing here. The film's most striking character only appears in one scene, being a lady who's had cosmetic surgery at two hospitals and believes that between them they ruined her face. She unsuccessfully tried to sue the first one, but she's trying again with the second. "This time I'm sure I'll win in the end." It's horrible and pathetic. Maybe she's right, or maybe she's delusional and a victim of the modern media's obsession with a perfect image. Both are presented as possibilities and both are shocking, but in different ways.
It's a moderately interesting horror film, if you can get past the fact that it's also a cheaply made softcore sex flick. (Someone should do a fan edit with less nudity. Six overlong, mostly gratuitous sex scenes is more than was required even for the genre.) I sort of liked it, though. The film has strong opinions of our obsession with image, which it's exploring in multiple ways. See that politician who failed his daughter.
"It's all right to be the way you are."