Hey gang, Valkor here, continuing with TOV's 15 Films of Horror. Number five on the list, isn't one I'm particularly fond of. In fact, the first time I watched it, I fell asleep. But not because of the film; it was more or less to do with staying up revamping the site. The second viewing, I fell asleep again and this time, it's because the film "Creepy Hide and Seek" aka "Hitori Kakurenbo: Gekijo-ban" was… well boring. But you might ask why I'm including it in the top 15. Well, I think fans that enjoyed "Paranormal Activity" might get into this one, as the pacing and creep level is about the same, but for me… ehhhh… (SPoilers ahead, be prepared)
Creepy Hide and Seek stars Yuki Kawamura (From Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl) as teacher Ryoko who gets sucked into the world of a game that is played over the internet called "creepy hide and seek". The game is played using a doll stuffed with rice and finger nail clippings, tied up with red ribbon, stabbed, and dunked in water, while the person hides with a glass of salt water. Those who played the game, never complete it and are spirited away. How do you complete the game? You have to say "I found you" to the doll you used and spit salt water at it. What does this have to do with Ryoko? Some of her students start disappearing and it becomes known that they were involved with the game. Ryoko's journey on the path of creepy hide and seek, parallels with an incident in her past where a friend disappeared while they were playing hide and seek. And as she furthers along the path of the internet game, she soon becomes wrapped up in its mysticism and her past returns to haunt her.
The best way, in short, to describe this film is that it's The Ring meets Ju-On; you get the scary long-haired demon chick, and the creaking sound when stuff is about to happen. The film is equally creepy as both films, but not as scary.
The mood of Creepy Hide and Seek is downright spooky. Not just from the overall look, but how the characters in the film are portrayed; almost everyone is somber or morbid, and walk slow as if to say "Ok, we know we're in this scary movie and this is how we should act". There are quite a few jumps, but overall it's the slow creepiness of the film that wins here. I'm also smitten with the kitten who is Yukie Kawamura. I wouldn't have guessed I'd be reviewing two films starring her in the same week and in this film she works well with the material given. And with that we have…
What makes the film good, is also its bad points. (Is that even possible? Yes… yes it is). For starters, the pacing is on super slow. Why? I have no idea! But some minutes could have definitely been shaved off, especially the final scene where Ryoko confronts the ghost. She's slowly creeping through this hospital for what feels like 20 minutes, with absolutely nothing happening! I nodded off during this time and when I jolted awake she was still creeping. Did she know I was asleep? Next, why is everyone so miserable? And I mean almost everyone in this film is somber for what, I have no clue. A film could still be creepy, yet the actors have a natural flow to them. Finally, the film simply isn't scary. Creepy as hell! But scary? I didn't think so. Bringing in the long hair, demon chick is starting to get ridiculous. The type of monster was only scary in the Ring movies, after that… meh!
The ending. When Ryoko confronts the demon, you think she bought it, but the film cuts to the next day and she's alive and explaining about how the people who disappeared are not gone, but ghost we refuse to see. And then she vanishes. WTF!!??
I think maybe I've watched one too many horror films, because I didn't get the scare I expected from Creepy Hide and Seek as I thought I would. Regardless, I think there may be an audience for it, especially for the overall creep factor of the film, which is pretty high. Out of TOV 5 stars, I give Creepy Hide and Seek a 2. Oh… is this a new Ju-On film I'm holding???