Director: Koji Shiraishi
Cast: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Masanobu Ando, Masahiro Komoto, Aimi Satsukawa, Mai Kikuchi
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Horror)
Released By: Encore Films
Opening Day: 23 June 2016
Synopsis: In this epic crossover, a university student Yuri Kurahashi (Mizuki Yamamoto) and her friend chance upon the cursed videotape, and both are doomed to die within two days under Sadako’s curse; meanwhile, a high school girl Suzuka Takagi (Tina Tamashiro) feels inexplicably drawn towards the Saeki house and thus steps into the bounds of Kayako’s curse. The two girls later meet through a medium Keizo Tokiwa (Masanobu Ando), who has a crazy plan to expunge both curses by pitting the two evil spirits against each other.
Earlier this year we had Batman vs Superman. Then, we had Captain America vs Ironman. And now, we even have a representative from Asia, Sadako vs Kayako! Following all these grueling versus games, is Sadako vs Kayako worth a watch?
Sadako vs Kayako’s story revolves around two college students who accidentally watched what is believed to be the ‘cursed’ video. For those who are familiar with The Ring (1998) in the 90s, it is the same fierce spirit, Sadako we are talking about. As they witness how people around them start getting killed in freak incidents and suicide, Yuri (Yamamoto Mizuki) decides to look for ways to help her friend lift the curse.
At the same time, there are also mysterious cases of children going missing after entering a haunted house. The house has been vacant for years and it is said that whoever goes into the house never come out alive. As you might have guessed, the spirits residing in the house are Kayako (from Ju-on: The Grudge 2, 2003) and Toshio (Ju-on: The Grudge, 2002). The story progresses and eventually Yuri was introduced to a medium, who decides that the best way to combat a formidable spirit is to tackle it with another formidable spirit.
The idea of bringing together the most well-known ghosts in Japanese horror films was interesting. However, the motivation and rationale of how the story developed might just send you cackling. The plot of the movie was rather simplistic and predictable, having one event lead into another very linearly. While it is a decent story development, it is blunt to taste.
The good news is, the familiar and iconic Japanese horror is back! After all the failed Sadako franchises in recent years, the good scares are back. The build up towards the horror scenes are well done, with great audio support. The chilling atmosphere was also well sustained. And of course, there are several jump scare scenes and more impressionable scenes which will make you check your back more often.
Sadako vs Kayako may not be the most intense and scariest J-horror movie to date, but it has combined the classics and given it a modern twist. Coupled with decently good scare sequences, the curses are back strong!
(Sadako and Kayako are back to haunt! Certainly worth a watch if you’re a sucker for J-horror!)
Review by Tho Shu Ling