Horror Cinema: Sadako vs. Kayako

This Halloween, I revisited the Ring and Grudge series of movies. In addition to the classics, the US remakes and the Netflix Grudge series, I discovered movies that were new to me, Ring 0, a Japanese prequel to the Ring series, and Sadako vs. Kayako, a mash-up movie of the two franchises.

Ring 0 was good and worth the watch, but it was Sadako vs. Kayako that captured my imagination. I was ready to like it because the director was Kōji Shiraishi, who made possibly one of my all-time favorite horror movies, Noroi: The Curse. The style of Sadako vs. Kayako is nothing like Noroi, but Shiraishi succeeded in making another scary movie.

I fully expected and even wanted the cheesiest, corniest movie out of a Ring-Grudge mash-up, akin to Freddy vs. Jason. It held up to my expectations in the best possible ways, with jump scares and spooky scenes with Sadako, Kayako and the cat-crying boy, Toshio. What I liked more was how unforgiving and cruel they were.

What I liked best about the movie was how it told the story of two cursed girls: how they got cursed, crossed paths and fought together to break their curses. I cannot say that I loved the ending of the film, but the way it took a flimsy and kitschy idea and turned it into a tale of two cursed girls was enchanting and lasted with me.

Shiraishi, Koji. Sadako vs. Kayako, PKDN Films (via Universal Pictures), 2016.

Images from IMDb and Fear Forever.

All Saints’ Day

In honor of All Saints’ Day, here are gruesome paintings of their trials. Visit Daydream Tourist’s Shocking Paintings of Martyred Saints for a full article and more paintings.

Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew
Giovanni Bellini – The Murder of St Peter the Martyr (detail), 1509, Courtauld Gallery, London
Following his decapitation in 258 C.E., St. Denis is said to have picked up his head, walked 6 miles, and given a sermon. St. Denis Picking up His Head, 19th century, Panthéon murals, Paris (Photo)

Horror Cinema: Gone in the Night (2022)

As a teen in the 90s, I loved Winona Ryder. Her movies, from Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael to Reality Bites, shaped much of my adolescence and coming of age. I was excited to see that she recently starred in a horror movie, Gone in the Night.

Image from Cover City

I admit that I went into the movie with low expectations because I haven’t liked much of Winona Ryder’s work over the past 10 or 20 years. But her renewed popularity being on Netflix’s Stranger Things gave me hope that she could be working on a better quality movie.

Image from JoBlo.com

I enjoyed the film. The characters were interesting, and how the story unfolded kept my interest. Although it had plot reveals throughout it, there were clues in scenes well before the reveals, which I appreciated. I don’t like twists and turns that blind-side me, so I liked how I could piece together the story as the protagonist uncovered the plot’s mystery.

The movie could have ended in one of many ways, and I liked how it concluded. It felt just artsy and weird enough to make me feel satisfied that I was watching a Winona Ryder movie.

Image from Readsme

Horowitz, Eli. Gone in the Night, Vertical Entertainment, 2022.