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It certainly helps that I'm often quite fond of Japanese movies, since I can see how this movie does not appeal to just everybody.

This is basically one unique viewing experience, that can get quite artistic and unusual to watch. But that's just Japanese cinema for you. It's simply just a very different culture, with also a different style of cinema. I admit that you perhaps have to be a bit into (old) Japanese cinema, in order to fully appreciate- and perhaps also understand this movie.

You could divide this movie in two parts. First you have a dramatic movie, with supernatural and horror elements in it, while the last part of the movie is purely set in hell, in which all of the movie its sinners have to pay for their sins.

But it's Japanese hell, so it's not really something you are accustomed to seeing, when thinking off hell. It's nightmarish and very visually orientated. It plays on fears and torturing pains, while the movie at all times remains a classy and artistic one to look at.

For an 1960 movie, it feels and looks surprisingly modern. It also isn't afraid to handle some daring themes and to feature some erotic moments. I can definitely see how this movie inspired later genre movies and Japanese film-makers.

Its story gets told slowly, as is often the case with Japanese cinema. The story can get a quite hard one and confusing one to follow but not nearly as confusing as some people try to make you believe. Seriously, as far as old fashioned Japanese movie go, this one is pretty much straight-forward and understandable enough for western people, when you have subtitles available of course.

But above all things this movie still manages to impress the most with its visuals. I really liked the directing approach of this movie, which also provided the movie with some at times artistic shots, that you are more accustomed to seeing in a good '70's movie. The editing on the other hand can get quite dodgy, if I really have to say something negative about this movie.

A great movie, for the lovers of old fashioned and daring Japanese cinema at least.

8/10

Watch trailer


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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