Film: Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night
Starring: Noriko Aoyama, Aoi Nakamura
Directed by: Toshikazu Nagae
Out To Buy And Rent on Dvd On October 10th 2011
The Hughes Verdict!
Ok, before anyone gets confused, this is not Paranormal Activity 3. This is a direct sequel to the original film but this time set in Tokyo and while it does link the franchise together, if you have seen Paranormal Activity 2 then the link will not really make much sense, unless we are getting the answer to what happens to our Katie, the bad ass girl from the American films.
Now if that sounds confusing then you may be confused even more because you have to take what happens in this with a pinch of salt (clever in-joke there you will get once you have seen this film), because I very much doubt the American franchise will take this movie seriously so I suppose what we are probably getting is the unofficial sequel, a kind of what Never Say Never Again is to the Bond Franchise, so why the effort to do it at all? Because the concept cries out for a bit of J Horror injection, I mean if they can make Ringu feckin freaky then I suppose they can not do not much wrong with such a simple and wining formula!
Haruka (Noriko Aoyama) has just returned from an holiday in California where a car accident cut her holiday short. What we are told is that she run over and killed a woman who had just happened to be on the run from the police after just killing her boyfriend (see where this is going) and the impact made Haruka break both her legs. Confined to a wheelchair and with her brother Koichi (Aoi Nakamura) just happening to be a tech geek who likes to film every second of his life, this hobby comes in handy when Haruka begins to witness strange things in her bedroom. With her father leaving for a business trip on the day she returned home, her brother takes it upon himself to discover what is going on and starts to to set up cameras around the two bedrooms, but what starts as a small joke becomes deadly serious and for all those who have seen Paranormal Activity 1 and 2 then you know where this is going!
I have to be honest and say that Tokyo Night left me really cold. Not in a Sixth Sense kind away in which I felt that there were spirits around me but in the fact that the film is not really that good! You could put that down to the fact that the premise has been told twice to much better effect and this sort of “unofficial” sequel offers nothing new, but that would be unfair on the eagerly awaiting Paranormal Activity 3 which going by the snippets I have seen actually looks rather good. I can see that the concept is a one trick pony, a film that relies on people believing that this is happening and maybe the reason the American sequel worked so well is because we were already invested into the people involved.
As soon has the face of Katie appeared in Activity 2 we the horror fans were already sucked into the plot because we already shared the experience of what happened to her and it was interesting to see how she would fit into the new plot. What carried the sequel was our curiosity of the characters Kate and Micah and its the same trick that will be on display with Activity 3 which is another prequel this time showing Katie and her sister Kristi being haunted when they were kids. Of course while I am only speculating about this, I would not be too surprised that this time next year we will see Activity 4 which then continues the story into the now and we finally get to see what happens after the original Paranormal Activity. At the end of the day the studio have got us fans just where they want us and they will milk the franchise for all its worth until there is no direction they can take the plot!
Now Tokyo Nightproves that you can not take the formula into another family. From the off I did not get the connection that is required with this family. Yes they do try to link this with its American counterpart but I really did not care what was happening simply because what was displaying on the screen was the same old and at times totally daft!
What does help at all is the fact that the film is really boring. No seriously, I know this franchise loves to set up the scares so we get the final twenty minute horror, but I really could not help but find myself yawing and ready to press the off button on numerous occasions.
Like the original PA we have Koichi in the role of Micah who takes it upon himself to sort this situation out so for numerous times we have him telling his sister what he is about to do. Now this is a scene that gets repeated over and over while they usually sitting around having food. This of course comes across as not really thrilling or watchable because all we want is to see the night action.
The film repeats itself constantly with four loops of play that really becomes irritating. The camera is set……..they go to bed…..something spooky happens…….then they watch it back! I know that many will read this and think “well that is what happened in the original!”, but for some strange reason it does not just work here because for the first hour the night scares are really dull.
“Oh look, there is a noise!”….oh look, the bedroom door is opening on its own!……oh look there is a noise………oh look the bedroom door is opening on its own!…….” these are the scenes that are being constantly displayed and after a while you really wish the film would stop with this bullshit and get to the real stuff. It gets worse before it even marginally gets better especially with the arrival of their best friend who just happens to have psychic abilities (who hasn’t got a friend like that), who goes all over in a wobble and foams at the mouth in what is a real laughable scene.
Of course the film picks up a bit of stride when we get to the obligatory wheelchair moving on its own scene arrives and when the ghost begins to get violent even though the stupidity of the characters and even more laughable scenes brings the standard down. What I did not get is that even after a bit of hair pulling, the siblings still sleep separate every night and also they do not just pack their bags and move out. Also I can not wait to hear what people think of the most bonkers scene of the year in which we see the “Ghost” stand! Now this moment will no doubt bring howls of laughter to your household because its so daft that the film needs to be seen just for that alone. Its like the walk of a man after a few hours on the booze and its up there for me as 2011’s most ridiculous horror scene.
By reading this you can probably guess by now that PA: Tokyo Night did nothing for me, its a criminal waste of a solid premise that never really gets going and ends with a whimper than a bang, and while PA fans will be intrigued to see how this fares, I can only warn you that its nothing like the American counterparts which probably means its the first of its kind!
What do I mean by that? Well there is every horror fan moaning about the American treatment of their re-makes of J Horror classics like The Eye and Ringu and it seems that it works the other way around because make no mistake, J Horror has made a right hash of such a simple concept like Paranormal Activity!