I dislike serial killer films and the few I do find watchable are pretentious (Seven) or have great pantomime performances (Silence of the Lambs). Cure is the first I love. It is because of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s interest and deployment of urban decay and malaise, and most importantly the supernatural and psychological.
Detective Takabe (Koji Yakusho) and psychiatrist Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki) are called to a crime-scene where a man named Kuwano has murdered a prostitute by slicing her open with a knife from throat to chest, carving a large cross and severing the carotid arteries. The police think that Kuwano has fled but Takabe finds him hiding nearby. The crime is one of three similar cases in two months where the culprits have no motive, are unrelated and are totally rational, hiding nearby and shell-shocked. Takabe is troubled at the emergence of a trend. Cut to Shirasoto Beach in Chiba where a teacher encounters a guy in the trench coat (Masato Hagiwara) who asks, “Do you know who I am?” He seems to have amnesia so the teacher takes the drifter home to alert the authorities and discovers Mamiya written on the drifter’s coat. Mamiya insists that the authorities shouldn’t be alerted and produces a lighter and starts asking the teacher the same questions over and over, “Who are you?”, “What do you do?” trying to pin down psychology. While this is happening Takabe is at home taking care of his wife who is mentally ill. The next morning Takabe interrogates the teacher who has murdered his wife. Takabe senses that there is a supernatural element, possibly hypnosis but Sakuma refuses to budge from his conventional theories until they encounter Mamiya themselves and realise he is connected with each of the killings. Takabe, increasingly distressed and angry with the crimes and having to take care of his wife struggles to get his theory of hypnosis accepted but while he is digging around in Mamiya’s past he discovers chilling evidence stretching back further in time than he could ever have imagined.