Saturday, October 22, 2011
Horrorthon 3: Day Nineteen: Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (Kôji Shiraishi, 2007) -- B
With Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman, director Kôji Shiraishi doesn't so much make a compelling, intelligent horror film as he does a potentially iconographic one, more impressive in its return-of-the-repressed, towering, massive scissor-wielding slasher than anything the film can muster in terms of thoughtful dialectics. Nevertheless, the latter's deficiencies will only negate filmic pleasure if such criterion are one's sole method of achieving it; in fact, Carved's use of a generic plot and narrative mold almost work in its favor, ultimately, since this is really a horror film for the fans - a new slasher is born. In a small Japanese city, the patrons begin to notice several children disappearing. A few people, having contact with a tall, strange, vengeful woman when they were younger, begin to suspect the figure has returned. The specifics of "why" the figure seeks said retribution is relatively meaningless and Shiraishi treats it as such, instead keeping things lean and more geared towards visual thrills. Of course explicitly linked with A Nightmare on Elm Street (and nowhere near as profound as Craven's film), Shiraishi has fun upping the ante in terms of who's on the chopping block, as well as lingering on the titular slasher, lumbering slowly forward, scissors-up, eyes wide open. In a few particular sequences, the film proves adept simply in terms of genre, understanding the slasher film in its inherent ability to emphasize isolation, difference, and individuality gone awry, the community dissolved because of apathy, disinterest, and complacency. These themes appear steadily throughout, making anyone who's a fan of slasher films immediately attuned to Shiraishi's brand of havoc.