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Belittling Horror Excessively: Tales From The Dead01:42 AM -- Thu October 13, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: A woman has allegedly killed her husband, but was acquitted. Her car breaks down in the woods, and another woman picks her up and drives her home, regaling her with ghost stories along the way. Clearly, ghost stories ensue.

Scariness Type: There are some super mild jump scares, and that's about it.

Rating: 3/5 Black Widows.

Awarded: The Turning Japanese Medallion (I really think so). I found this movie completely unconfusing right up until the end credits. That's when I discovered that this movie was made by Americans, and filmed in California, despite being entirely in Japanese and only including Japanese actors. I'm still trying to figure out how that works. I guess they heard there was money in the Japanese film market? It does explain why their crime scene tape said "DO NOT CROSS" in English. I noticed a credit for "Script Translations", so it was even written in English.

Good Stuff: I have a soft spot for anthology movies, and I appreciate them being tied together. In this case, the actual ghost stories weren't tied together, but there was the wrap-around story, and it kind of all worked together. For the most part, the stories were fun to watch and short enough to keep you hooked, very light fare without a hint of scariness. I don't think a 6-year-old would be frightened by the ghosts in the first story. Of course a 6-year-old probably wouldn't watch a subtitled movie.

Bad Stuff: Low-budget and a fair amount of cheese. It was kind of like a 50's movie in terms of people acting intensely stricken by events, and lots of shots of the shadows on the wall behind them (also about half of it was black & white to enhance the feeling). It felt like a few Twilight Zone episodes, especially the third ghost story.

Classic Rules Of Film: Oddly enough, if you show a gun in Act 1 (of a flashback scene inside one story inside the movie), it doesn't have to go off at all. Instead, you can fire a different gun in Act 3 (of the flashback)! Come to think of it, maybe that was the same gun. I would go check, but I'm too lazy.

My Take: Let me break it down a bit. There are three ghost stories in here, plus the wrap-around story. The first ghost story was kind of fun, a little bit of a Twilight Zone twist. The second story was just dumb, no real twist beyond "ghosts can get revenge" which is kind of the point of ghosts. It also featured the perkiest detective in either California OR Japan. The third story was totally silly, but it was a true Twilight Zone episode. There's really no reason it had to have anything to do with ghosts, it was more about this other weird concept I won't spoil, which of course turns around and bites the protagonist in the end in true Twilight Zone style. It really didn't fit the movie, mainly because this woman was telling stories of things ghosts had told her, and out of the blue there's this whole... I don't know what to call it, but a new and unique supernatural concept just pulled out of thin air for that one story. It just seemed out of place. Like it's too much mythology for a generic series of ghost stories, and if that mythology exists, the other ghost stories could've been peppered with it for some added flavor. I could certainly see it affecting how they turned out.

Artistic Nonsense: The storyteller seems to think she's sharing these stories to make a point to her passenger, but I'm not real clear what it is. I guess the first story (which features the teller herself) is a nice piece of information for later, in terms of her motivations. But the other stories are just random stories. Or are they just too deep for me? That's probably it.

The Nameless still refuses to play. Our next movie sounds close enough though: The Disappeared. Can't have a name if you aren't there, right? It's about a guy who begins to have visions of his missing brother.
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