Oct 28, 2014

Review: Paranômaru akutibiti: Dai-2-shô - Tokyo Night [Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night] (2010)

So it's true that Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night is not officially part of the American Paranormal Activity series. I just couldn't stop myself from seeing it again and writing a review for it. I live for weird stuff like this and it's just too wacky that there's somehow a Japanese sequel to Paranormal Activity.

I'm curious though as to how this movie was allowed to go through at all. You would think that Paramount, which distributes PA movies, would want to prevent a movie like this from ever coming out. Oren Peli actually got credit, was that all that was needed? It seems to have done quite well at the Japanese box office, but I guess it never had a chance of making big money worldwide. Maybe it's just not worth the fight to go all across the Pacific.

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Genre: horror, thriller
Directed by: Toshikazu Nagae
Produced by: Yasutaka Hanada
Written by: Toshikazu Nagae
Music by: N/A
Running time: 90 minutes
Production company: Presidio, Musashino Ad, Cinema Sunshine, etc.
Distributed by: Presidio, Distribution Company, Eurofilms, etc.
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Budget: ¥1,350,000
Box office: ¥41,685,000 (Japan)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Aoi Nakamura, Noriko Aoyama, Kazuyoshi Tsumura, Kōsuke Kujirai, Maaya Morinaga, Ayako Yoshitani, Tōze Yamada, Shinji Matsubayashi, Jan Franco Ognabenni

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Synopsis


Haruka Yamano (Noriko Aoyama) is involved in a car crash while away on a trip to the United States. She returns home with two broken legs, forcing her brother Koichi (Aoi Nakamura) to take care of her while their father (Kazuyoshi Tsumura) is away on a business trip. Haruka swears that she sees her wheelchair move during the night, prompting Koichi to try to find out what could be going on.

Review


Weirdness aside, I'm just going to say straightaway that as a found footage film, Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night is quite effective. The way in which the found footage format is executed seems to lack a bit of motive behind it at first though. But obviously once stuff starts happening in typical Paranormal Activity style, it makes sense for Koichi to be filming everything.

In terms of patience in building up its scares, PA2:TN succeeds. Creepy as they are, only very minor things start happening at first. There are some slight jump scares but they don't fall into the cheap category. They're the kind that happen and still leave you freaked out once they're over.

There are even some attempts at suspending audience disbelief with a friend who has a sort of sixth sense for the paranormal as well as an exorcist. It's little things like this that make the scares in this movie much better and more believable. That's one thing I really liked about Paranormal Activity and it's something I'm glad was emulated. At the same time though, 90% of what's in Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night is differentiated enough from Paranormal Activity which is good news.

The atmosphere in the house gets worse as time goes on and it's practically tangible as a viewer. The scares also get pretty intense. Aoi Nakamura and Noriko Aoyama's acting at times does seem a bit suspect whether everything is OK or they're terrified out of their minds, but overall their efforts are passable. 

Things do seem to come undone more towards the ending unfortunately. (Spoilers) For one thing, Haruka and Koichi were planning on leaving the house because of how unsafe it is. For whatever reason though, they don't. I'm not sure if I missed some dialogue or the subtitles were badly translated, but it's never explained why they don't leave. There's also no way that the smell of their dead father wouldn't have been perceptible during the time he was in the cupboard. (End Spoilers)

Scares are definitely still effective up until the ending even though there do seem to be some problems. (Spoilers) The ending unfortunately is overly choppy and not very scary at all truth be told. It doesn't even seem to be part of the same movie in fact. (End Spoilers) All the same, there's definitely some stuff in here that could give Paranormal Activity and its two good sequels a run for their money.

Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night is not a perfect movie. It's scares however are very memorable and I'm impressed at how Toshikazu Nagae was able to put some distance from Paranormal Activity instead of just simply ripping everything off. The ending does disappoint though, just like its precursor actually. For fans of Paranormal Activity and found footage horror films, I think that this is still a very unique movie to see. 

Rating


6/10