Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Don't Send Friends Ghost Photos
Toshiko, usually called Toshi in the film, is going through a hard time in her life. Her family has recently split up, with Toshi living with her mom, and her brother and dad living where her grandfather lived. Her grandfather has passed away, which is where we come into the story. They are deciding what to do with his stuff. Toshi's brother decides to keep the camera that he finds. Back home, there is a series of kidnappings that is all over the news. While they seem to be young girls only, it has the whole town on edge. Toshi's mom, who is more worried about Toshi getting into a good college more than anything else, gets Toshi a cell phone for her safety. She soon gets pictures from her brother over her phone. One picture gives Toshi the creeps. It is a picture of a forest that she is sure she has seen before, and it also shows a figure of a woman that is hard to make out. Toshi's friend Meg tells her a story about a girl who was lost in the woods, but the person the girl goes up to doesn't help. Soon, Toshi gets a picture of her brother with someone standing behind him, but he swears he didn't send it. Who is the woman, and does she have anything to do with the recent kidnappings?
Ghost Photos has a very low budget feel to it. More than likely this is true of the film since it is so hard to find any information about it. According to Netflix, it was directed by Tadashi Shimizu. Even with the information that Netflix gives, I still couldn't find anything on IMDb about this film. Ghost Photos was a hard film to get into. I liked the set up and all, but the photos that are supposed to be so mysterious are hard to see why. The forest picture was easy to see that something was there, but I didn't really see a woman there. Another picture, one of Toshi in front of her grandfathers house, is supposed to show someone standing behind her. As much as I looked at that picture, I couldn't figure out what the hell they were talking about. The end of the film does string everything together in a way I wasn't really expecting, but then again, I don't think I was giving it my full attention after a while either. The ending doesn't explain everything, but I think it came close enough to piece everything together for the most part. The worst thing about Ghost Photos was the subtitles. I don't know who put them together, but it felt like they just went with the literal translation, and put no thought into putting into context. One example out of many is, "We need to talk this." Which should be, "We need to talk about this." Add to the fact that if your not a speed reader, you might as well forget about reading a lot of it. Some of the subtitles are on and off the screen so quick you feel like to read a single word of it.
There is very little as far as effect go. There is a little bit of blood to be found when one character falls from a window, but nothing major. There is also the effect of making a ghost look blurry, again, nothing major. The acting wasn't much better. For the most part the acting feels pretty stiff. Each actor has their moments though where they do a pretty good job. The actor playing the part of Toshi's mom was probably the best of the bunch just by coming off as being such a bitch. For what it is worth, Netflix lists the following actors: Aoyagi Ruito, Omura Namihiko and Siera Yaguchi.
I've often heard that parents really push their kids in Japan, and Ghost Photos seems to add to that. Dear old mom won't let Toshi talk to her brother because it gets in the way of studies and she is "nothing like him." Toshi is forced to miss a funeral because of a test for college that I'm sure could have been given at another time considering what was going on. I actually found this aspect of the film more interesting than the paranormal side of it. Still, this wasn't a very good film. Netflix doesn't seem to have a DVD for the film, at least they don't list one, but you can still watch it on instant watch if the film does seem interesting to you. I say skip it, but there are people who enjoyed it, so who knows?
2 out of 5 Happy New Year everyone!