Sweet Home – Japan, 1989 – reviews

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 ‘Soul power… soul power… come to me!’

Sweet Home (スウィートホーム Suwīto hōmu) is a 1989 Japanese horror film directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and produced by Juzo Itami. It stars Nobuko Miyamoto, Shingo Yamashiro and Nokko. Dick Smith supplied the extensive special effects. Producer Itami took the film from Kurosawa to reshoot and replace scenes for the video release and TV screenings.

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A small film crew visits the old, abandoned mansion of famous artist Ichirō Mamiya, who left several precious frescos inside his house. The team wants to restore and publish the paintings and film a documentary about Yamamura and his arts. The team includes Kazuo (Shingo Yamashiro), his daughter Emi (Nokko), producer Akiko (Nobuko Miyamoto), photographer Tagushi (Ichiro Furutachi) and art restorer Asuka (Fukumi Kuroda).

After they enter the mansion, paranormal events betray the presence of a poltergeist. Soon, Asuka is possessed by the infuriated ghost of Fujin, Ichirō’s wife. The team discovers a makeshift grave where a toddler is buried. The boy is Ichirō and Fujin’s son, who fell into the house’s incinerator one day and burned alive. Since then, Fujin’s ghost haunts the mansion, killing any trespassers…

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Special effects preparation

The game of the same name and the movie were simultaneously released so it’s not really clear if the movie is based on the video game or vice versa. Further complicating the debate about which came first: Sweet Home‘s trailer is both an advertisement from the movie, and a sales pitch for the Famicom game. It includes scenes from both.

Sweet Home has never had an official DVD release anywhere.

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Reviews

“Kurosawa shows himself fully capable of directing a fast-moving, sharply edited roller coaster of a film. It may not be terribly original, but the characters are engaging and the script is well written, providing an interesting variation on the traditional Japanese “vengeful female spirit” concept. The final third is fantastic, as Akiko takes on the role of surrogate mother, the only way she can hope to fight the grieving maternal demon that haunts the house.” Flipside Movie Emporium

“Despite its unsurprising plotting, Sweet Home is action-packed, thrill-packed and effects-packed, resulting in a more than entertaining haunted house ride.” Tom Mes, Midnight Eye

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“I love this film a great deal. It’s everything you’d want in an old school haunted house tale. Hidden rooms, scary ghosts, dark secrets and just a touch of humor. It’s a creepy little film, that has a few scares and more than its fair share of tension. Its damn near perfect.” Unseen Films

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