Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tomie: Great comic book, crappy movie

Tomie (1999)
Starring: Yoriko Douguchi, Miho Kanno and Mami Nakamura
Director: Ataru Oikawa
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

Junji Ito created one of the only truly scary comic book series I've read--"Uzemaki." His other famous series Tomie is almost as creepy, although you'd never know it from this astoundingly boring movie adaptation.

"Tomie" is the tale of a teen girl who is the center of violent love triangles where everyone involved ends up dead, including her. And, yes, it's plural, because Tomie is so evil that even death cannot stop her--her body always regrows, even from dismemberment, into an exact replica of when she was at her most beautiful... and then she goes looking for more victims to seduce and lead to destruction.

"Tomie" is an awful movie in every sense of the word. The only reason I suffered through it until the end was because I wanted to review it for here and because I kept thinking it HAD to get better.

"Tomie" fails to take advantage of nearly everything that was truly creepy in the original source material, so it starts boring and it stays there; is filled with drab characters having inane conversations; spends too much time with characters talking about how horrific things are instead of showing the viewer the horror; and has special and gore effects so awful that Ed Wood is embarrassed on the filmmakers' behalf. Finally, the film seems to assume that the viewer is familiar with the Ito comics series, which is an unforgivable sin in my opinion.

"Tomie" would have been a One Star movie, except the actors seem to be doing as good a job as can be expected with the awful script they're working with. I still recommend that you avoid this one.

There are at least six other Tomie movies that have been made since the release of this one, and this is one series where the films get better as they go. This is the only Tomie film bad enough so far to end up here. The rest will be reviewed here.