OX-HEAD VILLAGE (2022) Reviews of Japanese horror movie

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Ox-Head Village is a 2022 Japanese supernatural horror film about three girls that go missing after a prank about a haunted building.

Directed by Takashi Shimizu (Homunculus; Howling Village; Innocent CurseThe Shock Labyrinth 3DThe Grudge 2004 and sequel; Ju-on: The Grudge) from a screenplay co-written with Daisuke Hosaka. Produced by Muneyuki Kii, Harue Miyake, Chikako Nakabayashi and Daisuke Takahashi.

The movie stars Kôki, Riku Hagiwara, Keiko Horiuchi, Haruka Imô, Akaji Maro, Satoru Matsuo, Riko, Fumiya Takahashi, Naoki Tanaka and Rinka Ôtani.

Plot synopsis:
Having launched a social media prank about a haunted building, three girls suddenly vanish. Rumours circulate that they were victims of The Ox-Head Village curse, triggering an investigation by two of their friends, desperate to find the truth about what has happened…


“The cadence and tempo of the scenes come up short on several occasions, especially in the abandoned hotel that seems to take forever which is also the case of the backstory flashback that fills in the gaps of the plot. While answering the questions of who everyone is, their relationships, and the tragedy that brings them together, is all so slow and drawn out that it adds unnecessary length…” Asian Movie Pulse

“The scares here range from pleasantly ambitious to relatively goofy; the image of someone wearing a dead cow head may sound unsettling on paper, but often comes across as a bit zany. To counter these offbeat moments, Shimizu-san has sprinkled a number of creative set pieces throughout, one of which involves a neat camera trick combined with minimal special effects to illustrate the demise of a falling specter.” Grimoire of Horror


Ox-Head Village does offer some interesting moments, but it fails to establish either a unified tone or even a fully coherent narrative structure. It’s difficult to fully summarize the film without spoiling individual scenes or set pieces, partly because the scenes themselves feel somehow disjointed and abrupt. The film also vacillates between horror and comedy…” 3/5 Horror DNA

“Shimizu blends folk horror with social media and crafts a creepy tale loaded with suspense and surprises […] Ox-Head Village is a fine updating of classic-era urban-legend J-horror from one of the original masters […] Shimizu proves that there is still life in the subgenre.” 3.5/5 The Scariest Things

“The scares aren’t anything new, but there’s enough of’em that won’t overwhelm or bore the viewer and while fans of J-Horror may not find much new here, it’s still a decent watch thanks to the interesting mystery surrounding the village and Takashi Shimizu’s talent behind the camera.” 6/10 UHM

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