omasato bought "Sweet Home"
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10/09/2017 - 05:17:36 AM
Poltergeist and all that.
I have wondered about public feelings towards this movie even before I watched it. I was initially interested as I had heard that the game that the film was inspired by(Or vice versa frankly as they were both released at the same time) was actually the inspiration for the game series Resident Evil and unless I am terribly mistaken, there were also some people who worked on both projects. Knowing the importance of the film from simply that one point of view means that it has every right to exist and everyone should own a copy.
Poltergeist and all that though, I say as it has been noted in several reviews that I found while trying to answer some of my own questions about the film, share many parallels with this film too. Haunted house-yup. Two famous directors that people often question as to just who was really calling the shots on set-uh huh. Little girl that is dragged into the center of a ghostly plot because plot more or less demands it?
I do suppose it bares mentioning but the following will probably contain some spoilers. Big ones too so...Maybe skip to the last paragraph for my closing thoughts now if you want to keep the magic alive?
Most reviews I read talk about the film crew going to the infamous painters house. Firstly, that is something that needs clearing up right now-the painter himself was not so much the infamous one there-rather it was his wife. So it was in fact that the film crew went to the artist's infamous house.
The painter in question had done a number of works. Enough to keep people interested some 30 years after his passing. It bares mentioning that you never really see his other pieces though so I suppose that is largely left up to your imagination.
The crew come to the...House as most call it though I am not so sure. In some shots it looks more like a castle and even if not would likely classify it as being a Mansion and not really a house but, either way. They seek a lot-5 total I believe Frescos he had painted that are otherwise not known about or that are not catalogued anywhere. The first is found actually fairly quickly and the others are also soon discovered, all more or less in the exact same room. It is later revealed-again, spoiler, that these paintings were done to commemorate the various stages in the life of the artists then recently born son. The fact that there are only 5 of them should probably alert you to the fact that things didn't last well for very long.
The young boy as it turns out had recently begun to walk, managed to find himself in the houses large furnace and...The mother whom is the spirit actually haunting the house in present time accidentally started it up before realizing her son was inside. She tried desperately to save him but the child died and she herself was terribly burnt. This is all reflected in the Frescos too so, be sure to keep an eye out for that imagery.
While that all sucks, to be sure, certainly qualifying it as a stigmatized property, that probably wouldn't net the estate the infamous reputation that it does have though. That really comes about when the grief-stricken mother then sneaks into the nearby towns and kidnaps babies from their homes-I suppose babies as age never really seems to be broached but still. Kidnaps children to then feed to the same furnace that her son died in and scarred her. That way, her son would always have playmates. She is eventually caught by an angry mod and... Well, while we are not precisely told what happens to her I believe, I would argue that it probably involved the furnace. Just a hunch.
Juzo Itami who co-directed(?) this film also acted in it as the role of a sometimes drunk reclusive gas station attendant and unlucky mechanic. Grizzled and knows more than a little about the tragedies that took place in that house. Half the time I expected him to be revealed as either the son-not really dead, the artist himself-again, not dead. Perhaps he had a hand in the death of the wife then-angry villager or aggrieved parent. Never revealed. I will point out that Yahamura-the old character played by Itami, seems to have the same audio quality as did Freddy Kruger from nightmare on elm street. He meets his end with Fire and, honestly, he looked an awful lot like Kruger. So, Angry mob, missing and dead children. A scene where the ghosts of the dead children seem to inhabit and perhaps fuel the evil spirit of the wife... Perhaps Nightmare of elm street was another inspiration then.
There is a running theme through the latter half or so of the film. Only a mother could stand against the spirit of the lady of the house. Force of will seems to be part of it though in the very end, I think it is meant to be a clue. The ghost stops when it is actually being handed the body of her dead son. She smashed or otherwise destroyed anything thrown at her but wouldn't dare harm the corpse. So was this saying supposed to be an understanding having to do with the question of ones own will-to endure hardships and pain if it means saving someone as important to you as a child? Was it perhaps prophecy that came about by fortune tellers or spiritualists who came in regards to the curse upon the house? Well, we never really learn that.
Handed the body of her son, the mother cries and eventually her mutated, mangled form melts away and she appears as though an angel and literally ascends on high, perhaps to heaven itself. I have to say, this is a point that I didn't much care for and have to argue with. It is a lovely note to end on, I suppose, though that doesn't really change the fact that she did still murder a number of children-one way or another burning them in her furnace whether dead or alive by which point. I get it that she has finally gotten her baby back and feels as though she can movie on but...If not the kids who were killed, spirits perhaps of the families of the deceased children, spirits of other either known or imagined to have been claimed by the curse. Or even the husband-the artist that...I want to say in some ways he probably blamed her for the boy's death and indeed would have been living in the house during the murders. Would that he had simply passed away and crossed over, I still don't know that his spirit would be content to see her necessarily at rest too. Honestly, I just don't think that the film could have had a positive ending in this way.
The team there to investigate the artwork, a father and daughter. A producer, a technical assistant-cameraman-driver. Finally, the reporter herself. A team of 5 people. The assistant and reporter are given rather spectacular deaths. I am guessing there are some of the reshoots that I read about online. Kiyoshi Kurosawa wasn't satisfied with some of the special effects for the film and, supposedly, wanting to further cement it as being his own work from Itami. The original cut of the film now is alleged to only exist in the Toho vaults. It would be good to see that for comparison and I highly doubt that it is completely lost to the public, but at the time of writing this, I have yet to see it.
The 3 surviving members of the film attempt to escape the house. Nearly succeed though the darkness claims the little(!) girl which then forces the father to re-enter the house to find her. This is literally the last you see of him until the closing moment before the credits-the producer-who you are led to imagine might end up marrying the father, has no idea what became of him after he went back inside and best as I can say, never looks for him. The film them comes to center around the producer trying to get the girl back. More reasonably good special effects and the film ends as I said earlier. The producer and the daughter leave, the curse is lifted and the father wakes up in a cupboard somewhere in the house, stumbles out and...Just knows to go outside and follow after the girls. Happy ending, roll credits.
My thoughts on the film, well, what we are given here is pretty good overall. Again not the greatest film of all time, not the best J-horror film I have ever seen either. Important for its contributions to the industry in any case and well worth watching. It does make me curious as to what was changed from the two versions of the film though-the original and the one we have with the reshoots. The film comes subtitled as mentioned, which doesn't obstruct he screen too terribly though I will say, there are several songs, almost invoke the notion of nursery rhymes perhaps that are not subtitled even though they are being sung by the characters for...Reasons. Oh, I will say this without spoiling anything, watch the film until the very end-as in after the credits finish. Without giving it away, the curse is lifted but still-sorry board of tourism. So, so sorry.
Thank you and take care...