Nightmare Detective 悪夢探偵 (2007)

Halloween is today and I have found a real gem for some midnight viewing. Spoilers!

Nightmare Detective's Ryuhei Matsuda

Shinya Tsukamoto, Director of Nightmare DetectiveShinya Tsukamoto This serial killer film comes as something of a relief after two months of kaidan. Nightmare Detective was directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, he of Tetsuo (1988) fame, a film that instantly earned him comparisons with David Cronenberg due to its body horror. I first watched it late at night as a teenager and was left dazed and disturbed. The comparison is well deserved as his film packed a visceral and psychic punch. I next watched Vital (2004) in a cinema and was left dazzled by the beauty but bemused at the modern dance sequences. This is the first film Tsukamoto film that I have watched since then and I loved it.

A businessman returns home, he’s alone, unfolds newspaper turns to see a mane of long hair on the wall. A man in a poncho shuffles from beneath a table, he is Kagenuma (Ryuhei Matsuda) and he can enter dreams, hear thoughts and read peoples’ subconscious while they dream. It is a gift that he hates having because the dreams he enters and the thoughts he read reveal “disgusting things”. Cut to a woman who is on her mobile phone arranging her suicide with a mysterious man who stabs himself. She ends up being chased and torn to pieces. This is the first of a series of suspicious suicides that leave the police puzzled.  A link surfaces when they find that the victims called a person named o (Shinya Tsukamoto).  Keiko Kirishima (Hitomi) is a new member of the homicide squad. Her fellow veteran homicide detective Sekiya (Ren Osugi) is sceptical about her abilities but she has the support of a young detective named Wakamiya (Masanobu Ando). Kirishima becomes increasingly obsessed with the case increasingly convinced that the mysterious 0 can control minds but feels belittled when she’s asked to get the suicidal dream reader involved in her case.

Nightmare Detective's Ryuhei Matsuda is AsleepI’m a sucker for these stories: explorations of dreams and the subconscious, detectives facing twisted psychologies, existentialist takes on modern life – Cure and Inception being two titles I love. Nightmare Detective joins them.

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