HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cannibal Club, The
Grasshopper, The
Searching
Human Desire
Climax
Stiff Upper Lips
American Animals
Outlaws
Venom
World on a Wire
Velvet Buzzsaw
Picnic
Dick Dickman, PI
Hunter Killer
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The
Race for the Yankee Zephyr
Boys in the Band, The
Brainscan
T-Men
Blame
Upgrade
Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, An
Fear No Evil
One Cut of the Dead
Rosa Luxemburg
Disobedience
On the Job
Monsters and Men
Survival Run
Crucible of the Vampire
   
 
Newest Articles
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
   
 
  Pyrokinesis Twisted FirestarterBuy this film here.
Year: 2000
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Stars: Akiko Yada, Hideaki Ito, Ryuji Harada, Masami Nagasawa, Yû Yoshizawa, Hidenori Tokuyama, Toshiyuki Nagashima, Kaori Momoi, Ayako Fujitani, Renji Ishibashi, Yukijiro Hotaru, Koichi Ueda
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller, Romance, Fantasy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sandwiched between his groundbreaking Gamera trilogy (1995-1999) and the ambitious Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: All Monsters Attack (2001), Shusuke Kaneko delivered this pacey psychic thriller. While the premise recalls stinkers like Firestarter (1984) and Spontaneous Combustion (1990), the movie actually upholds a proud J-cinema tradition of virginal heroines with devastating supernatural powers. Grainy 8mm flashbacks detail how when lonely little Junko is attacked by a teenage thug, she incinerates him with her pyrokinetic powers. “You’re not an ordinary girl”, warns her mother. “Don’t go near your friends.”

Years later, Junko (Akiko Yada) grows into a gloomy, young woman shunned by her fellow office workers, until hunky Tada Kazuki (Hideaki Ito) asks her out on a date. When a gang of sex attackers terrorizing Tokyo murder Tada’s younger sister, Junko offers to use her abilities to take revenge on arrogant Masake Kogure (S[Hidenori Tokuyama), son of a big-shot district attorney and immune from prosecution. But although she ambushes Masaki and fries half his face, Tada cannot bring himself to let Junko kill. However, her activities draw out Kouichi Kido (Yû Yoshizawa), a friendly fellow “Esper” who can read and control minds by touch (“If I touched Julia Roberts she’d play striptease!”). His encouragement spurs Junko into a firefight with the gang that leaves three bad guys frazzled, Masaki on the run and their latest victim mysteriously shot in the head.

Investigating detectives Ishizu (Kaori Momoi) and Makihara (Ryuiji Harada), the latter bearing a mysterious grudge against Junko, struggle to convince their colleagues there’s a psychic vigilante at large. Elsewhere, Kaori Kurata (Masami Nagasawa), a prodigiously gifted autistic esper, seeks out Junko as a surrogate mother.

Known internationally as Crossfire, and based on a novel of the same name by Miyuki Miyabe, this moves very well despite an overloaded plot. The special effects range from the spectacular - as Junko flings fireballs and stops bullets, Matrix-style - to the charmingly low-key, including a lovely sequence where two lovers kiss surrounded by a psychokinetic haze that gently melts the falling snow. For all the impressive exploding bodies, fiery deaths and melting faces, hardcore horror fans may not find this all that scary. This feels like Kaneko’s contribution to the J-horror movies aimed at adolescent girls, with stories that emphasise psychology, emotion and romance. Nothing wrong with that, and while the convoluted narrative is somewhat Hollywood in feel, its themes are very Japanese: grief, self-doubt, loneliness.

Most impressive is the way the pulp plot slowly evolves into a debate on the ethics of vigilantism. Kaneko doesn’t quite make this Carrie (1976) meets Ms. 45 (1980), but when his heroine discovers a vigilante group called the Guardians are behind the killings (“Killers and victims are vermin”, intones the nihilistic surprise villain), she realises her place in a vicious circle that threatens to consume everyone. Displaying Kaneko’s range as a genre filmmaker, the finale skips from tragedy amidst a fairground inferno, to an explosive comeuppance worthy of The Fury (1978), before ending on a solitary flickering candle that implies undying love and the birth of a new psychic lifeform.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2029 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: