TEMPLE (2017) Reviews and overview


Temple – onscreen title: The Temple – is a 2017 Japanese/American supernatural horror feature film directed by Michael Barrett – making his feature debut – from a screenplay written by Simon Barrett (Blair Witch; The Guest; You’re Next; A Horrible Way to Die; et al). The movie stars Logan Huffman, Brandon Sklenar and Natalia Warner.

There is a blog post about the film by Simon Barrett in which he details how he worked on the script with JT Perry (Hellbenders) between 2010 and 2012, but apparently, after only receiving partial payment from the producers for his work, he never heard from them again.


Three Americans on a trip to Japan are fascinated by a haunted temple, and, despite warnings from the local villagers, decide to spend a night there…


“Perhaps it’s intended for newer or more casual fans of horror. So if you already have some horror experience under your belt, I’d suggest avoiding this one and watching The Shrine instead. It’s also about a small group of friends who travel abroad and end up wrapped up in rural supernatural weirdness. It’s more complete, less predictable and less reliant on tired tropes and tricks.” All Horror

“Chilling, spooky and thoroughly nerve-wracking Temple steps out of the box ever so slightly but then lands us with an ending typical of the genre. With more questions to be asked than answered. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it and I’d happily watch it again!” Back to the Movies

“There are several badly executed jump scares and stereotypical J-horror tropes like creepy children with missing eyes. There is a lot of mumbo jumbo about ghosts and curses. Worst of all, there are clichéd Japanese characters and cringe-worthy exotification of Japanese culture, such as a mysterious figure in a rice hat by a fire.” Modern Horrors

” …as far as execution goes, Temple falls apart repeatedly throughout its 78-minute running time, with a story that feels truncated, characters that never really make any sort of impact, and a few “twists” that really aren’t twists at all.” Daily Dead

” …the characters’ desires are just soulless prompts in a screenplay that’s content to simply have three Americans come face to face with the clichés popularized by J-horror. The scares may be less schlocky in execution than the viewer might expect, but that’s ultimately a misleading pretence to seriousness…” Slant

” …a one-dimensional mishmash of “found footage,” flashbacks, police procedural, superstitious hullaballoo, and interpersonal drama that shrivels and dies without sensibly interacting with one another. Unrewarding in nearly every manner imaginable…” Culture Crypt

” …as Temple continues to unspool, it becomes apparent that the Barretts don’t know where they’re going. They take their sweet time getting to anywhere within the vicinity of “meaningful.” But they never really arrive because their pacing is too halting, their visually flat scare scenes aren’t effective, and their ideas are … well, not all there.” RogerEbert.com

Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk

“Thing is, even if it were scarier because the three leads are so unlikably two-dimensional, I’m not sure the result would be any better. By caring little for the characters, we care little about what happens to them, and therefore the level of terror they experience becomes inconsequential. The shape-shifter included.” Joblo.com

Temple is especially disappointing because there are the bare bones of a good scary story here that deserve better scripting. The setting is great and the bit parts are effective and well-acted, but this is another of those films where 80% of the running time details cardboard cut-out characters doing boring things and mouthing sub soap opera dialogue…” House of Mortal Cinema

“Overall, it’s too mediocre for anything else, which disappointed me. Especially since I wanted (and expected) more from a Simon Barrett script […] If this had been produced as a horror short, I think the result would’ve been much better. I will say this though; The movie looks gorgeous!” Heaven of Horror

Main cast:

  • Logan Huffman … Christopher – Monster Party; Final Girl; V
  • Brandon Sklenar … James – The Last Room
  • Natalia Warner … Kate
  • Naoto Takenaka … Ryo
  • Asahi Uchida … Ittoku

Filming locations:

Tokyo, Japan

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