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Yuko Takeuchi (left) and Ai Hashimoto look into the creepy history of a house in the Japanese horror film The Inerasable (category; IIB Japanese), directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura.

Review | Film review: The Inerasable – superb addition to J-horror genre stars Yuko Takeuchi, Ai Hashimoto

Strong performances and a deliberately paced script combine to offer a suffocating experience that never relinquishes its grip

Film reviews

3.5/5 stars

Yoshihiro Nakamura’s first foray into horror in more than a decade proves a cracking return to form, both for the director and the J-horror genre. The Inerasable follows a novelist and a university student as they team up to investigate supernatural goings-on in the girl’s apartment building.

When Yuko Takeuchi’s unnamed novelist receives a letter from Kubo (Ai Hashimoto), her interest is piqued by the strange sweeping sounds that the latter hears in the dead of night. On further investigation, the amateur sleuths discover that nobody stays in Kubo’s building for long, and many previous tenants have died in mysterious and gruesome circumstances. It’s clear that the noises barely scratch the surface of the malevolent forces at work.

An investigation scene from the film.

No stranger to the J-horror craze that swept the globe at the turn of the millennium, Nakamura wrote the screenplay for Hideo Nakata’s excellent Dark Water and directed the 2005 film The Booth. In The Inerasable, he returns to the genre in typically eerie fashion, building a palpable atmosphere of claustrophobic dread through careful use of shadow and sound.

Rather than direct his own original screenplay, Nakamura has adapted a novel by Fuyumi Ono, while evoking many of the same superstitions, myths and rituals that reinforced films such as Ringu and Audition. Strong performances from the two leads and a deliberately paced script that refuses to turn to gory nonsense combine to offer a suffocating experience that takes hold early and never lets go.

The Inerasable opens on May 12

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