Director: Nagae Jiro
Cast: Yuri Tsunematsu, Eriko Sato, Miyu Honda, Riko, Raiga Terasaka, Tateo Serizawa
Runtime: 1 hr 22 mins
Rating: NC16 (Horror and Some Violence)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 18 August 2022
Synopsis: Based on the true recount of the Japanese urban legend in 2004, “Kisaragi Station”. A girl nicknamed “Hasumi” posted online her strange experiences at “Kisaragi Station”, a train station not found on any map. The messages suddenly stopped and Hasumi was never heard from again. At that time, there was a huge debate online about the truth of her story. It became one of the most famous stories of modern mysterious disappearances even till today. This August, the chilling mysteries of Kisaragi Station will be unveiled on the big screen…
Set in Japan, Kisaragi Station is based on an urban legend posted on a Japanese forum platform 2ch in 2004, and popularised from the 2010s as people start discussing similar experiences of being transported to another dimension. The story follows a university folklore researcher Tsutsumi Haruna (played by Tsunematsu Yuri) who wanted to get to the truth behind Kisaragi Station. It’s said to be a station which does not exist in the real world, and one that bends the concept of time.
The movie opened with a flashback to when a key character, Hayama Junko (played by Sato Eriko), returned to the real world. It built up towards her retelling the story to Haruna, and her experiences she had in the other world. The movie used pov shooting for the happenings at the other world experienced by Junko, and it was thrilling and reminiscent of survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.
In the other world, there were also supernatural forces which seem to be chasing the characters present together on the train, as they explored the area to find a way back to the real world. The CGI effects used felt very much like the 80s/90s type of effect, which were not that refined nor impressive. However, the intent to use that actually worked well with the story, since it was supposed to be less real-life like, and more fantastical, of what happens in the other world.
As the story progressed, Haruna wanted to test out the theory she had gotten from Junko, in order to get into the other world. Unlike the earlier part of the story that was shot from a first-person perspective, it then evolved to a third-person point of view. The sequences felt similar from the earlier part, but with Haruna knowing exactly what would happen. That laced the story with a bit of humour amidst the heightened sense of horror and threat.
In terms of the quality of horror, there was a mix of the use of ambient horror soundtracks, gore, jump scares and supernatural occurrences. These were used in a fair balance, and complemented the storytelling. While the first half and latter half of the movie shared similar walkthroughs, there were still elements of surprise and plot twist to sustain the story. However, there are certainly some plot holes that went unexplained, but were not crucial anyway.
Overall, it was a fun movie to watch at the cinema, especially with people around you reacting towards the scares. If you’re looking for plot, this is probably not the movie to go-to. However, for a light-hearted and not too overly intense horror movie, your next stop should be Kisaragi Station.
(A good mix of first-person and third-person point of view for a fairly comfortable ride to Kisaragi Station)
Review by Tho Shu Ling