Romaji: Suui-to Ho-mu
Japanese Title: スウィトホーム
Release Date: 21st January 1989 (Japan)
Running Time: 100 mins.
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Starring: Nobuko Miyamoto, Shingo Yamashiro, Ichiro Furudate, Fukumi Kuroda, Nokko, Juzo Itami
Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one of my favourite directors so the chance to catch one of his earliest films (thanks to a tip from Sadako’s Movie Shack) which inspired a game considered one of the forebears of Resident Evil¹ was too good to pass up.
A film crew consisting of Kazuo Hoshino (Yamashiro), his daughter Emi (Nokko), producer Akiko Hayakawa (Miyamoto), cameraman Ryō Taguchi (Hurutate) and art restorer/TV presenter Asuka (Koroda) head off to an old and abandoned mansion where famed artist Ichirou Mamiya is said to have painted a final undiscovered fresco inside shortly before his death. After entering the house they discover the fresco and Asuka sets about trying to restore it for a documentary but weird sounds can be heard all over the place and when Taguchi knocks over a creepy shrine a supernatural force is unleashed. Only local man Yamamura (Itami) seems to know the true nature of the curse but can he do anything to save the crew?
Sweet Home is a haunted-house movie. Its horror DNA is a mixture of traditional Japanese imagery like long-haired yurei and western influences like Poltergeist, and The Exorcist. As is to be expected for a horror film directed by Kurosawa Sweet Home is anything but sweet. With Kurosawa at the helm you can count on a film which supplies absorbing and creepy atmospherics. This time however instead of an intellectual ghost story what we get is a highly kinetic and mainstream movie which utilises special effects and broad acting to deliver a fun ride.