In the late 90's and early to the early 2000's, Japanese Horror was the new thing among horror fanatics and critics alike. It's easy to see why-many of them were movies that didn't dole out gallons of viscera, and instead focused on creeping dread and atmosphere-as well as creepy ghosts. One of the director's to get attention during this time was Takashi Shimizu, whose film's "Ju-On" and it's sequel created shock waves across, some calling it one of the scariest movies ever made. While it was an impressive venture, I wouldn't call it one of the scariest movies ever. Unfortunately, constant remakes of Asian horror flicks (including two done by Shimizu himself-both of the "Ju-On" films) and the fact that they just started to feel so similar ended the J-Horror boom. Kind of a shame, because his 2005 late entry flick "Reincarnation" is an uneasy little gem.
A young actress (Yuka) has a problem-she's starting to see restless spirits. It all starts to happen while filming a horror film about a crazed professor who kills 11 guests at a hotel. unfortunately, nobody told the director or anyone else involved that filming in the exact place where said murders took place is probably a really bad idea. Spooky shit starts to go down, and all that jazz.
A creepy little movie, "Reincarnation" knows the importance of atmosphere, and manages to use it without any of it feeling wasted. From the get go, you know it's going to end bad, and it makes the anticipation work to it's advantage. With the exception of the ghost aspect, the plot doesn't really resemble a J-Horror flick, instead taking on aspects more familiar to American horror movies-particularly "The Shining", but it never feels like a rip off. The real strength though, is the final minutes of the movie, which become a real test of nerves in that they pull the strings of the audience and let all of the tension and atmosphere that was present beforehand pay off in a satisfying and all around scary way.
If it does have any problems, it's the general lack of originality. Sure, it tries to take influence outside of the J-Horror box, but seasoned fans of the style will get a sense of Déjà vu during the thing. How many more scary ghosts with black hair can one get before they get tired of it? It's a good movie, but watching it, one can see why this style of horror died.
"Reincarnation" is still a pretty impressive supernatural horror yarn that never leaves the audience feeling cheated, even though they may feel like they've seen it before. Check it out on a rainy night at least.