Creepy (2016)


Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Country: Japan

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Creepy”, which was based on Yutaka Maekawa’s 2012 novel of the same name, flaunts some creepiness but fails to maintain the focus while leading us to a defective finale.
Mr. Kurosawa’s flair for horror-thriller is widely known (“Cure”, “Pulse”), but throughout his long career (more than three decades), his successes are more intermittent than solid. In fact, his only memorable film is a poignant drama, “Tokyo Sonata”, a reference that prompts me to suggest he should give another shot in the genre.

“Creepy” has a stimulating start, showing us the brave and clever Detective Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) being wound by a young psychopath who managed to escape the correction facility where he was being interrogated. 
The incident pushed him away from the crime investigation and made him chose a teaching career instead. One year after, the expert in criminal psychology moves into a new house with his good-hearted wife, Yasuko (Yûko Takeuchi), who is resolved to build friendly relationships with the neighbors. However, the couple finds themselves surrounded by an antisocial woman on one side, and a sinister man, Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa), on the other. Despite the odd behavior, Yasuko opens the door of her house for Nishino and his daughter, Mio, who discloses some eerie secrets about her father.

The one who doesn’t trust him at all is Takakura who, meanwhile, agrees to give a hand to his former colleague, Nogami (Masahiro Higashide), in an unsolved case from 6 years before when three members of a family disappeared without a trace. The only relative who’s alive is Saki Honda (Haruna Kawaguchi), carefully approached in order to recall a mysterious man who may be related to the disappearances of her parents and brother.

The two fronts of the story - the bizarre neighbor and the Hondas’ case - are predictably related and the film keeps revolving in psychological strategies and abhorrent exposures until we reach the implausible and vulnerable ending. “Creepy” was sharply shot/photographed and its suspenseful undertones are acceptable, however, a more lucid approach was expected from Mr. Kurosawa who, at least, could have tried to camouflage the obvious a little harder.