Helmer Shun Nakahara, who just missed the target with his offbeat “Colourful” (2000), about a dead criminal’s mind resurrected in a teenage kid’s body, again comes up with an intriguing but flawed movie in “Concent.” Playing like a low-key psycho-thriller, but with a muddled climax, story about a sister searching for the truth of her brother’s death looks like a specialized ancillary title in Western markets.
Yuki Asakura (Miwako Ichikawa) travels to attend the funeral of her reclusive elder brother, Takayuki (Houka Kinoshita), who mysteriously died of weakness brought on by malnutrition. Visiting the apartment in which he passed away — where maggots still wriggle in his bloody outline on the floor — she notices a vacuum cleaner still plugged into a electrical outlet (“consento” in Japanese, hence pic’s curious English title “Concent”).
However, Yuki doesn’t have all her cards in the right order. She develops a highly acute sense of smell which registers apparitions by her late brother, and also fantasizes about an S&M relationship with her former college teacher.
Between clinical bouts of sex with her b.f., who tells her she’s incapable of forming proper relationships, she learns Takayuki suffered from “spontaneous trances” during which, like a shaman, he became an “outlet” for other’s emotions. This eventually destroyed him, and the same looks to be happening to Yuki as well.
Helmer Nakahara goes for a calm and restrained shooting style, which for most of the going convinces the viewer the bizarre plot actually makes some sense. Simple visual f/x are also effective, underlining the normalcy of the horror slowly overtaking the main character. After such a long buildup, however, the resolution is weak and theatrical.
The otherworldly, bug-eyed Ichikawa is well cast as Yuki, and disrobes at regular intervals to spice up the picture. Best perf, however, comes from Miho Tsumiki, as Yuki’s best friend who hides a bizarre secret. Tech credits are smooth.