may not be the main focus in this Japanese horror movie but it is
the trigger and driving force behind Tsutomu Kuboyam's Yumeko's
ASIAN VALUES VCD REVIEW
Yumeko (Minami) suffers from nightmares where she sees a young
girl being murdered in a run-down location. In her dream, she
also sees disjointed images such as a windmill, a stranger reading
a newspaper in a car and a man named Matsuda who may or may not
be linked to the murder.
dream, Yumeko sees a mother and her young daughter who live in
her apartment block. Behind closed doors, the mother abuses the
child. It isn't just a simple beating. The mother (Yoko Chosokabe)
presses her foot on the child and whacks her with a golf club.
In one of her nightmares, Yumeko sees the child stretching out
her arms to her but Yumeko could not do anything to help. She
wakes up when the child fades away and Yumeko realises the child
could have died. While her mother and sister, Tsukiko (Shihori
Kanjiya), make light of her nightmares - they do not believe her
- Yumeko calls the welfare agency. Returning home from school,
her mother tells her that the welfare people came "not too late"
and that the child had been abused by her mother.
that her nightmare was not just a dream, Yumeko decides to look
into the murder mystery. From the clue that the murdered girl
comes from a local high school, Yumeko starts asking around and
soon runs into the stranger with the newspaper in the car. The
stranger turns out to be a private detective (Kazuyoshi Ozawa)
who is employed by Mr Matsuda to find his daughter, Aiko (Natsuhi
Ueno), who has gone missing.
that Aiko goes to the same school as Tsukiko, Yumeko gets her
sister to ask around and comes up with Aiko's boyfriend's address.
The detective visits the apartment and finds Aiko there.
But soon, Yumeko finds out that Aiko was not the intended victim
and that it is her sister who has been murdered. Meanwhile, the
detective feels something is not right with the Matsuda family
and begins his own investigation. Meeting up with Yumeko, the
two visit the Matsuda family to collect the reward. While snooping
around, Yumeko finds the basement and sees a stranger there.
out that the stranger is Aiko's older brother who has been abused
as a child. Her father even tried to kill the child by slashing
his throat. The child survived but cannot speak and now lives
in the basement.
think that J-horror is nothing but Ringu and Grudge re-threads
with faceless long-haired women crawling out of TV sets or down
a staircase might rejoice with Yumeko's Nightmare, which is basically
a variation of that Old Dark House story.
is quite stylish in its presentation, especially in the beginning.
The black-and-white disjointed dream images might recall Ringu
but there is a certain David Lynch feel in Natsuhi Ueno's Aiko,
who provides the film with an erotic frisson, that makes one think
of Laura Palmer who is full of secrets. There is also a hint that
Aiko and her brother might have an incestous relationship.
Like a persistent
Nancy Drew, Minami just about manages to carry the film on her
young shoulders. For the rest of the cast, Yoko Chosokabe is suitably
sinister as the abusive mother in her short role. Kazuyoshi Ozawa
was the killer in Takeshi Yokoi's Hitch-Hike (2004) and he brings
a sense of doggedness as the hard-headed detective. Unfortunately,
the film suffers from a rushed ending that tries to unravel all
the knots and leaves a sense of the supernatural that does not
Kuboyama did give the film a certain currency by highlighting
the child abuse angle - monsters are created when the family inflicts
violence on their young - but the real twist is that it is the
heroine's precognition, instead of saving the day, is what sends
her sister to her death.
The Yumeko's Nightmare DVD (Fullmedia/Bio-Tide) is banned in $ingapore.