It’s probably worth admitting, before I go any further, that Kairo (Pulse) is my favourite horror film. Before moving into mainstream dramas with the award-winning Journey to the Shore and Tokyo Sonata, director Kiyoshi Kurosawa made a name for himself as one of the leading exponents of Japanese horror cinema. With his new film, Creepy, he returns to that familiar territory, channelling his love of Hitchcock and Kubrick to make a festival favourite.
After a hostage situation goes wrong, Koichi Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) retires from his role as a profiler to take up a position as a university lecturer. Along with his wife Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi), they move to be nearer to his new job. Their new neighbours are hardly welcoming but Yasuko is determined to try and befriend the rather strange Mr Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa). When a former colleague seeks his help on a case, Takakura is drawn back into his old world and sees parallels with his new neighbour.
Creepy is a slow-burning psychological thriller which eschews horror tropes, preferring to riff on a slowly building sense of dread and wrongness. As the couple settle into their new home there’s a disquieting tension which Kurosawa masterfully handles. It’s beautifully shot, capturing and air of misery and isolation. Creepy is a film which will stay with you. The face of Mr Nishino is one which will haunt our dreams for years to come.
Creepy is out in cinemas from Friday.