Sadako vs. Kayako – Japan, 2016 – overview and reviews

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Sadako vs. Kayako –貞子 vs. 伽椰子 – is a 2016 Japanese supernatural horror film directed by Kôji Shiraishi (Noroi: The Curse; GrotesqueOccult; Foe and sequel). Twenty-four year-old actress Mizuki Yamamoto (Screaming Class) stars.

Kadokawa and NBC Universal Japan partnered to make the film which features the vengeful female ghosts from two J-horror series: The Ring (Sadako) and The Grudge (Kayako).

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The project was originally announced as an April Fool’s Day hoax (see poster above) but then became reality.

Sadako vs. Kayako was released in Japan in June 18, 2016, with 4DX screenings at selected theatrical showings.

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Plot:

A social worker visits the residence of a woman only to find her dead in front of her television set, clutching a TV cord covered in long black hair. As a tape in the video player starts, Sadako Yamamura manifests in the room and marks the social worker watching the footage.

The video player is later bought by university students Yuri Kurahashi (Mizuki Yamamoto) and Natsumi Ueno (Aimi Satsukawa), who want to use it to burn a copy of another tape onto a DVD. When handling the device, Yuri’s hand briefly became entangled in black hair though she dismissed the incident and ominous sign.

When they find the cursed video tape in the video player, a curious Yuri plays it despite Natsumi’s protests. Yuri is then distracted by her phone so Natsumi ends up watching the footage and receives a phone call, hearing nothing but high pitch ringing. She then witnesses an apparition of Sadako, thus marking her.

The girls return to the shop where they bought the video player, only to learn that a part time worker there had just died after watching the same video tape two days prior. The shop owners also reveal that the video player had come from a social worker, who after watching the video two days before, was found with a knife skewed through her throat…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

Sadako vs. Kayako is tremendously entertaining from start to end. The characters are good fun and played well (Battle Royale‘s Masanobu Andô is particularly great), the script takes its source material seriously but not itself, and the sight of Sadako and Kayako stalking two innocent humans wanting to stay alive is brilliant. The body work from both Rina Endo and Elly Nanami is stunning, and Sadako vs. Kayako will leave you with a huge smile on your face.” Luke Owen, Flickering Myth

Sadako Vs. Kayako is goofy as all-get-out and though the ghosts themselves look great, they’re not scary at all, removed as they are from any sort of serious mystery to embed them in and goosed by shoddy-looking CGI trickery. The entire thing feels like an expanded viral video stunt, a fan-flick. But as we mentioned, that doesn’t mean you won’t have a good time.” Chris Alexander, ComingSoon.net

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” … too much of this franchise-squelching mashup feels disappointingly uninspired. Seemingly torn between aiming for self-referential humor or sense-jolting shock, Shiraishi ultimately delivers too little of either. The CG visuals looks cheap, the characters are thinly sketched cartoons and the plot is laughably absurd, even by paranormal pulp-horror rules.” Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

“The film pays off with a horrifying, jaw-dropping climax that filled the crowded Tokyo movie theatre with audible delight. One is left with the distinct impression that, almost two decades post-RinguSadako vs. Kayako is not an attempt to be the scariest film in either series, but it also isn’t a campy homage played only for laughs. It’s better than that—it’s a love-letter to J-Horror itself.” Andrew Campana, Bloody Disgusting

Cast and characters:

Wikipedia | IMDb | Official website

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