Genre: Creepy Urban Supernatural Horror
review in one breath
Demonic little Sachiko is back! And she is literally crumpling any foolish soul which dares open Shibuya coin locker #0009. Picking up at precisely the moment the prequel left off, the trajectory of horror continues as we learn more and more about the cause behind a growing epidemic of unnatural deaths. This sequel was recently released to US audiences along with the prequel on a single DVD entitled The Locker.
There is an urband legend circulating around Shibuya regarding its coin lockers. Rumor has it that by placing a gift and a prayer in a coin operated locker, your chances of catching the boy or girl of your dreams is miraculously enhanced. Thus young people throughout Shibuya eagerly place their gifts inside these lockers and wait for the romantic outfall. There will soon be another legend circulating, one of a haunted locker which, once opened, brings a terrifying curse.
As you may have guessed, Shibuya Kaidan 2 is the sequel to Shibuya Kaidan, also directed by Horie Kei. This sequel relies heavily on the preceding storyline and characters of Shibuya Kaidan. Thus, the early minutes of this film are spent reacquainting the audience with key developments of the first film.
The main character here is Kubo Aya(no) (Horikita Maki), the junior high student being tutored by Reika (Mizukawa Asami) in the previous film. The story opens with Ayano sitting at the hospital bedside of an unconscious Reika who was found sprawled under the Shibuya station. The calm of the room is broken when Reika suddenly grabs Aya's hand. Thinking Reika has awakened to consciousness, Ayano quickly looks into Reika's face, only to see that she remains unresponsive. Looking down to her hand, she sees that Reika has handed her a small key to Shibuya coin locker # 0009. As she wonders at the meaning of this, Reika grows increasingly agitated, groaning and then screaming. As the doctor and nurse rush in, Reika convulses violently as she appears to be thrown by an invisible force. As Ayano looks on helplessly, the shocked medical staff pronounce Reika dead.
Thinking that perhaps Reika has left something for her in the locker, Ayano begins to methodically search for locker #0009. When at last she finds it, in a neglected section under the Shibuya station, she hesitates to open it, but eventually unlocks the little door and slowly opens the locker. In a mixture of relief and disappointment, she finds the locker empty. As she stands there trying to understand why Reika had given her the key, two junior high girls run up to the lockers with a small present, hoping to invoke the relational powers of the Shibuya lockers. Seeing that locker #0009 is open, they quickly place the present inside, leave a small offering and say a quick prayer, and close the locker. On the way home, Ayano is overcome with the intense shriek of a child's voice and out of the corner of her eye she can make out the image of a small ghostly child. Ayano is soon confronted by an incredibly terrified girl who she recognizes as one of the girls at the locker. The terrified girl hysterically questions Ayano regarding the locker and blurts out that the other girl is dead because of it. Through the girls eyes, the audience can see a small ghostly girl standing behind Ayano peering at the girl. Seeing this, the girl screams loudly and runs into the crowded street.
When several more of Aya's classmates, including her closest friends, turn up missing or dead, she is forced to reconsider the possibility of a haunted locker. The unusually high number of dead and dying young people showing up at the hospital not only alarms the supervising doctor, Kakezawa (Nagasawa Toshiya), but also quickly comes to the attention of the Shibuya police. In questioning Aya, they learn of the rumored haunted locker, and after a little investigation realize that each of the victims had contact with the Shibuya locker. And yet, the cause of the deaths or their relation to the locker remains a mystery. Things take a drastic turn for the worse when the good doctor takes it upon himself to locate the notorious locker and investigate. What transpires brings him face to face with the formidable presence.
Though substantially dependent upon its prequel, Shibuya Kaidan 2 is a thoroughly spooky and effective film. As in the prequel, director Horie pulls off some clever plot twists which lead the audience in one direction only to suddenly reveal a different reality. Several of the scenes are truly creepy and creative cinematic effects substantially enhance the demonic nuance of the creepy little girl. Although her identity and history are hinted at in the prequel, Shibuya Kaidan 2 thoroughly identifies and defines this little ghoul, now known to be Sachiko or Sa-chun.
Shibuya Kaidan and Shibuya Kaidan 2 can easily be recommended to fans of Japanese horror. These films are quite reminiscent of Juon or Ringu. And while perhaps not quite as groundbreaking or accomplished as these prior horror tales, director Horie creates a very effective atmosphere and storyline which will undoubtedly satisfy those who enjoy a good chill.
Version reviewed: Region 1 subtitled DVD
|Part two of the demonic debut of creepy, long-haired, little Sachiko||Plenty of chiropractics from Hell. No blood or gore.||I guess we need to wait until Sachiko turns 21.||Just what the world needs, another CREEPY little Japanese kid. Very spooky girl in the tradition of Sadako, Kayako and Toshio!|