Review: ‘The Complex’

Judging from "The Complex," maybe Hideo Nakata's return to low budget J-horror wasn't such a great idea.

Judging from “The Complex,” maybe Hideo Nakata’s return to low budget J-horror wasn’t such a great idea. More in the mold of “Ringu” than of the helmer’s U.S. pics or “The Incite Mill,” this tale of a malevolent ghost tormenting a young woman in a decaying apartment building has few chills and so many sloppy scenes, made ridiculous by a seemingly rushed cutting job, that even die-hard fans will shake their heads. Somebody better give Nakata a decent script and editor before he develops a complex himself.

With: Atsuko Maeda, Hiroki Narimiya, Masanobu Katsumura, Naomi Nishida, Ruiki Sato, Kanau Tanaka.

Bubbly nursing student Asuka (Atsuko Maeda) and her family move into a rundown building. When their elderly, antisocial neighbor dies, Asuka feels guilty for not saving him. Meanwhile, Asuka befriends a mysterious little boy (Kanau Tanaka). When weird things start happening — like her family disappearing — and she thinks it’s the old guy’s ghost seeking revenge. Handyman Shinobu (Hiroki Narimiya) tries helping by bringing in a group of exorcists (unintentionally hilarious) who discover a possibly different reality. The ingredients are right: a crumbling neighborhood, outgoing girl, pretty-boy champion, creepy kid and supernatural events, but the results look cheap and lifeless.

The Complex

Japan

Production

A Nikkatsu Corp. production. (International sales: Nikkatsu, Tokyo.) Produced by Yuji Ishida. Directed by Hideo Nakata. Screenplay, Ryuta Miyake, Junya Kato.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen, DV), Junichiro Hayashi; editor, Naoko Aono; music, Kenji Kawai; production designer, Kyoko Yakuchi; sound (Dolby Digital), Masato Yano. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Spectrum), Jan. 26, 2013. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 106 MIN.

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