Combustible Celluloid
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With: Tetsuji Tamayama, Asami Mizukawa, Kouko Mori, Sanae Miyata, Fumiyo Kohinata
Written by: Tomoko Ogawa
Directed by: Yuichi Sato
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/19/2013

Pray (2005)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Ghost of a Chance

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

From the current nonstop factory of Japanese horror films comes this sometimes effective, if unremarkable thriller about a young couple that kidnaps a little girl and hides out in an abandoned school. When they call about the ransom, they're told that the little girl in question has been dead -- for exactly one year. Director Yuichi Sato -- making his feature debut -- keeps searching for thin excuses to keep the frightened kidnappers at the school, looking for the girl, afraid of being seen, etc. But very little happens during the film's running time except for a few creepy shadows, noises and some unexplained gore. Yet certain sequences -- such as those between the little girl and kidnapper Mitsuru (Tetsuji Tamayama) -- deliver the chills merely through the skill of their execution. Asami Mizukawa co-stars as Mitsuru's cute girlfriend in leather boots and a fuzzy hoodie.

DVD Details: Tartan has released Pray as part of their Asian Extreme series, with trailers, a "making of" featurette, and interviews.

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