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Different black-and-white animation techniques tell several scary stories. There's a story of a teenage boy who meets the wrong girl. Another tale deals with a small community where people disappear and are never seen again. Then there's the narrative of a little Japanese girl who suffers from horrible nightmares followed by a tale where a man doesn't get the rest he hoped for in an old not-so-abandoned house. These stories are connected by the story about a man with a devilish smile and four enormous dogs from hell and by a woman's monologue about her fears.
I find it very odd that I haven't reviewed any horror anthologies yet. Man, I love 'em.
Review by Ginose
Added: May 20, 2009
Though, in all fairness, it's always difficult to review one, especially when it's a compilation of several different artists' works. The oddest thing about some of these films is that the overall quality will waver between the talents involved, as is true with most things like this, I suppose. However, I picked this one up out of nothing more than a like for the description on the back of the box; although I had heard of a few of the artists' mentioned on it, I was not familiar with their works, and others were just strange names on a piece of cardboard to me, but the idea was so sound that I just couldn't help but give it a try, and I must say that I'm glad I did.
I must say, watching this twice now, I'm still not sure if any of the shorts had titles, so I'll just assign my own, if you'll endure:
A man leading a pack of ferocious, bloodthirsty hounds down a dirt-road leads himself to the gates of a town, slowly letting them loose as he explores the darker realms of the city, introducing us to our tales of terror...
My overall feel for this one is a bit sordid. Hell, it was hard to even give a real description, given it's a running segment that appears in between most of the full segments. Not that that's anything to complain about, for a disturbing piece o f animation it works quite wonderfully, the animation being splendid as the dark-progression of the plot goes on and on. Downright gorgeous, if a little hollow for plot, but, In all honesty, that's not really what I was expecting to begin with.
Following the story of a young man (presently much older, bedridden and awaiting his medicine) as he cuts through some familiar woods, eventually coming across a strange bug in a hive. Being an intuitive child he takes it home with him to study, only to discover it has freed itself while he was out, apparently disappearing. Well, many years later the boy goes off to college, keeping his old bed and trying a new life. Sure he'd be concentrating on his studies, he is surprised to come into romance with a fellow student who, after a night of romance, seems to have fallen for him completely... a bit too completely...
This was so absolutely perfect in its bizarre presentation that I couldn't believe the final scene until I realized how easily it all fit together. A strange form of "beauty in simplicity" with this work, and I loved every second, aside form a few confusing and unneeded moments of plot progression. Damn near one of the best horror-shorts I've seen, animated or not.
After the horrific death of her father, a young girl is swept into her mother's care, moving to a small village in rural Japan. During her first day of school she learns the legend of a dishonored samurai who once inhabited the same home she now does. After a bit of harsh torment from her new schoolmates, she learns that there are much worse things to worry about in her new dwelling.
Beautifully told in a very non-linear fashion, the setup to the ending is so damned traditional that you've no idea where it's going until it finally gets there. A quality rare in most films of any genre. I'm not saying it's without a few flaws (primarily the lack of a real ending), but their easy to overlook when you watch the twisted story mold out of what looked like such a simple tale, especially with the flawlessly soft animation style.
"Creatures from the Sky"
A young boy from a fairly religious family is deeply disturbed by the disappearances of several people an animals from his village, he's told by a friend that it's a beast form the heavens. As the boy continues to let his imagination go on the rest of the town takes action and his friend soon disappears...
Not sure what to think of this... the way it was told wasn't really t he problem, but the splotchy animation vs. still animation along with the fairly flimsy story really made this to be the weakest entry of all of them. Not bad, for what it is, but it felt more like a drama than a horror, and it really broke the flow of it all.
A man goes about exploring what seems to be a darkened house, perhaps his own, perhaps not. Guiding himself by what little light he can find, he suddenly begins to piece things together. Things that may not be real at all...
Easily the best entry of the film; dark, atmospheric, confusing, mysterious... there really isn't a note it misses. I loved every moment of this one... flowed perfectly all throughout and the final moments were truly a shocking revelation.
The whole of this film was more than impressive (even with the overly "artsy" monologues of "fears" being spoken... which was more annoying than poignant, but I've come to expect those little things from French animations, by now) and it was truly imaginative, certainly opened my mind to picking up more random French films. All in all I'd say many moments were very effective as horror films, overall, even in the realms of imagination, but I just don't think it could have been done better. I'll say for certain that it's going to have me looking for more work by these artists very, very soon.
7.4/10, as an average but, for the overall enjoyment, I'd easily say 8.5, so we'll call an even 8/10. Give it a look if you're interested in a fairly unique anthology experience.
- added May 22, 2009 at 2:34pm
This one really just bored me to tears. I had
high hopes since the trailer first came out, but
there was too much of 'nothing' going on for me to
stay interested, despite some amazing visuals.