‘Where every howl is one of terror!’
Howling Village is a 2019 Japanese horror film about a young psychologist who heads to a haunted place to research her family’s dark history.
Directed by Takashi Shimizu (Innocent Curse; The Shock Labyrinth 3D; The Grudge 2004 and sequel; Ju-on: The Grudge) from a screenplay co-written with Daisuke Hosaka, the Booster Project-Toei Company production stars Ayaka Miyoshi, Ryôta Bandô, Tsuyoshi Furukawa and Renji Ishibashi.
Yuma and his girlfriend Akina are out one night hoping to come across the Inunaku Village. Following the rules of the ritual that allows entry, they make it into the secret village but something attacks Akina. She goes crazy and ends up killing herself.
Yuma’s sister, Kanae, is a child psychologist, and while treating her latest patient she discovers she has the ability to see spirits, an ability that’s inflicted upon all the females in her family.
Yuma then tries to go back to the village to find out why Akina went crazy and gets stuck there alongside his younger brother who has been researching the village for a school project.
Kanae is then visited by a spirit from the village, who leads her back in to save her brothers and to discover the horrible truth behind the village and its inhabitants…
In the USA, Howling Village will be released on Blu-ray by Dread on September 14, 2021.
“It features some memorable set-pieces, including men trapped in a phone booth (echoing Antonio Mercero’s 1972 short TV film La Cabina) – and the ghosts themselves are presented as juddery dark smudges […] Gone is the raw terror of the Grudge films, but in its place is a convoluted story about the different ways in which a community lives – or dies – with the misdeeds of yesteryear, carried out in the name of ‘progress’.” Projected Figures
” …feels just a little dusty and old-fashioned. The opening sequence, introducing found footage (shot on a character’s smartphone), an urban myth about cursed calls from an isolated phone booth at 2 am, a creepy tunnel and a hidden village beyond full of ghosts (human and canine), and a grotesque, paradoxical suicide, plays out almost like a pastiche of J-horror tropes.” SciFiNow
” …it should have easily made for something creepy. But we don’t even get scary. I watched this at night with the volume all the way up and got nothing (not that it’s solely a jump scare movie or anything, but still). It’s very well shot with some interesting concepts, but it fails at providing us with the fear factor.” Sci-Fi Wasabi
“Shimizu’s deft touch comes across multiple times, with some great setups for the horror. There’s definitely great potential in the movie for the beginning and middle. Unfortunately, it sharply veered away from being creepy and scary to stupid and nonsensical for the last third of the movie, which destroys all the build-up the movie had achieved, leading to an incredibly lame and unsatisfying ending.” The Technovore
Cast and characters:
Ayaka Miyoshi … Kanata Morita
Ryôta Bandô … Yuma Morita
Tsuyoshi Furukawa … Kenji Narimiya
Renji Ishibashi … Hayato Nakamura
Takamasa Suga … Keisuke
Hina Miyano … Maya Kagoi
Megumi Okina … Yuko-kun
Reiko Takashima … Ayano Morita
Rinka Ôtani … Akina Nishida
Masanobu Takashima … Akira Morita
Minori Terada … Yamanobe
Asahi Sasamoto … Ryotaro
犬鳴村 and Inunaki-mura
Thanks to Asian Film Fans for the plot synopsis