He's not my father, he's a total stranger are the chilling words uttered by a young girl to her neighbour before she turns and heads back into her home in Creepy Kiyoshi Kurosawa's return to his horror roots. Based on a novel with the same name by Yutaka Maekawa, the film has all of the classic Kurosawa elements. A mesmorizing villain, an eerie central location and a hard driving honest detective working a case that suddenly becomes very personal.
Former detective Koichi Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijimi) has left the force and the action in Tokyo for the suburbs and a job teaching criminal psychology to college students. His former junior Nogami (Masahiro Higashide) asks for his opinion on a 6-year-old case on a missing family. Koichi becomes involved spending a lot of time interrogating the surviving daughter on what occurred. At home his wife Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi) is introducing herself to the neighbours without much success except for Nishino (Teruykui Kagawa) who lacks social niceties but is at least somewhat responsive.
The story weaves in and out the Takakura and Nishino households. The former being the main centre of action at the outset then the latter as the suspense builds. Kurosawa manages to bring some breaks in the heaviness of the narrative with timely comic relief. In one exchange with his students Takakura describes the actions of one serial killer in the U.S. who's final act was to fly his victims to the mountains then hunt them for sport breaking the terror of the story he remarks that They do everything bigger in the US.
The most notable performance belongs to Yuko Takeuchi as Yarsuko. Kurosawa uses her as the vessel to demonstrate how Nishino gains ones confidence, begins to influence then completely controls the actions of a once total independent person. By the time the film reaches its peak Yarsuko is clearly on the side of her neighbour and not her husband.
Creepy is an engaging psychological thriller. The lead actors deliver on screen and there is not a weak link in the supporting cast. Kiyoshi Kurosawa is clearly at home back in his element delivering a tale of horror and terror. The film has its grizzly elements that will stay with the viewer but if you're a fan of J-horror its in a good way.
*** 1/2 Out of 4
Creepy | Kiyoshi Kurosawa | Japan | 2016 | 130 Minutes.
Tags: Cold Case, Murder, Neighbour, Drugs, Needle, Dungeon, Hostage taking, Identity theft. Kanto region.