Japanese: 喰女 －クイメー
Release Date: August 23rd, 2014 (Japan)
Running Time: 94 mins.
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Kikumi Yamagishi (Screenplay), Tsuruya Nanboku IV (Original Kabuki Play)
Starring: Ebizo Ichikawa, Kou Shibasaki, Hideaki Ito, Miho Nakanishi, Maiko, Toshie Negishi, Koichi Sato, Hiroshi Katsuno, Toshiaki Karasawa, Kenichi Hagiwara, Kei Sato,
Takashi Miike recently said something like he was done making sensible films and going back to creating chaos and violence and with two films released this year, he’s hitting the horror high notes. The first looks like a really great meta-horror title.
Kosuke Hasegawa (Ichikawa) and his lover Miyuki Goto (Shibasaki) are both cast in a new stage version of the play “Yotsuya Kaidan” which is a ghost story about a man under a family curse that ensures that any relationship with a woman will end in betrayal, supernatural vengeance, and murder. They are both in the lead roles, Kosuke playing the philandering Iemon and Miyuki playing the tragic Oiwa. It seems that fact mirrors fiction as Kosuke is a faithless lover who cheats on Miyuki with other actresses in the same play. Perhaps it is this which makes it hard for Miyuki to separate herself from the character she is portraying as she slowly becomes filled with love, anger and hate. As the two get more involved with the play, reality and fiction become one…
Takashi Miike teams up with numerous collaborators again and there’s a strong kabuki connection. Over Your Dead Body updates Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan, a Kabuki play by Tsuruya Nanboku IV and is written by Kikumi Yamagishi, the woman responsible for the script for Miike’s film, Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011), a film in which kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa took on the lead role and he takes the lead role here. His leading lady is the wonderful Kou Shibasaki, the star of Miike’s J-horror film One Missed Call (2004).
There have been many different adaptations of the play and some of them have been screen but this one is different since it looks to adapt the old play for a modern age and turn it into a meta-horror as it uses the play within a play structure and blends a classic tale of love, betrayal and a curse which poisons everything with a group of thoroughly modern group of characters.
The horror looks strong with this one as it has shades of Ringu and other yurei chillers and there is a lot of gore and blood splashed around.
Unlike his last set of films, this one looks less silly, hyperactive and hyperkinetic and more in the moody and dark atmosphere building of Audition (1999) which I think is still the best film in Miike’s filmography. Here are some images of the cast in costume and you can see the gradual change from sane characters to people sucked into the deadly fantasy they are creating: