During V's first year in the UK back in 1990 she met a number of Japanese students of English. One of these was a stiffly polite young man who told us that it was his ambition to become one of his country's leading film directors. We're not sure what became of him and his dream, but if he's found his way into the psychological horror genre, he's sure to be making movies with some of the following ingredients:
- An absurdly pretty female lead investigating some sort of curse
- Plenty of schoolgirls in uniform with short, pleated skirts
- Heavy rain
- Muji-coloured muted interiors
- A spook having a bad hair day from hell
Isola has something uniquely its own, the Kobe earthquake, but then it also has all of the other elements thrown in too, as if it was seeking to attain originality through a species of meta-cribbing.
Here the absurdly pretty lead is Yukari, an aid worker in Kobe after the quake that has some personal identity issues and is able to read the minds of others. But her mystery quickly fuses with that of troubled adolescent Chihiro, a schoolgirl alt-tabbing through 13 personalities, the last of which, Isola, is over-sensitive to say the least.
Looks like the result of the great quake jumbling together a lot of pages from different putative Japanese pyscho-horror scripts.