Tuesday, April 29, 2008


THE SLIT-MOUTHED WOMAN (Japanese horor thriller)

a.k.a. CARVED: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (on DVD)
Cast: Eriko Sato, Haruhiko Katou, Chiharu Kawai, Rie Kuwana, Kazuyuki Matsuzawa and Miki Mizuno.
Director: Koji Shiraishi
Time: 90 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? Looks like the producers of J-Horror have run out of ideas and are relying on just a graphically disturbing image to fan our curiosity. This will excite those who go for loud, cheap thrills - and dating couples, of course.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Based on a real-life Japanese legend about a slit-mouthed woman, this flick is about a woman ghost whose face has been disfigured by a jealous husband. After a 27-year respite, the town of Midoriyama is again plagued by a scissors-wielding ghost who dons a face mask to hide her 'slit mouth'. The demon's killing sprees (often preceeded by a cough) coincide with violent mothers, like the divorced teacher Ms. Yamashita (Eriko Sato), physically reprimanding their helpless children. Then there is Matsuzaki, a colleague who believes that the slit-mouthed woman may be the spirit of his own abusive mother.

HITS & MISSES: This is a rather disturbing film about child punishment and abuse. While most of the carnage involving children is played off screen, viewer imagination tend to run overtime here. Obviously, there is some sort of message against excessively strict moms, and even a suggested fear of a matriarchy. The direction looks rushed and most of the cast are stiff and unimpressive - except the lead star Sato who deserves her pay cheque.
Everything, especially the special effects, looks cheap and patchy.

THE LOWDOWN: Parents, keep the young kids away from this one!


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