Kyofu (2010)

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Released 20-Jul-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye Trailers x 4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 90:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hiroshi Takahashi
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yôko Chôsokabe
Mina Fujii
Momoko Hatano
Tomohiro Kaku
Nagisa Katahira
Sô Kusakabe
Ryôta Matsushima
Yuri Nakamura
Yôichirô Saitô
Chôei Takahashi
Kimika Yoshino
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Producer Takashige Ichise and screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi launched the J-horror wave with the Ring series of films; from the same pair, with Takahashi also taking up director’s duties, comes Kyofu (aka The Sylvian Experiments).

     Dr. Etsuko Hattori (Nagisa Katahira) and her husband are watching old footage of brain experiments conducted by the Japanese military in WW2 when a blinding white light appears on the screen. Hattori also becomes aware that her two young daughters, Miyuki and Kaori, have crept into the room and have also seen the film and that bright light.

     Almost two decades later, Miyuki (Yuri Nakamura) and four friends join in a suicide pact; however, it is a set up and the five are taken unconscious but alive to a remote clinic where Dr. Hattori is conducting the same brain experiments shown in the WW2 footage. The experiment is to insert an object into the “sylvian fissure” in the brain; when stimulated it results in hallucinations that may, or may not, lead to a different objective reality and a link with the afterlife. Hattori goes ahead and operates upon her own daughter. Meanwhile, the Police and Miyuki’s boyfriend are trying to find the disappeared Miyuki. Kaori (Mina Fujii) receives visions of her sister and also sees the white light again. The destiny of everyone is linked; and before Kaori’s quest is over she will be shown visions of the afterlife and realise what it is to be alive, and dead.

     Kyofu sets up an interesting premise and gore is mainly limited to some squirm inducing brain surgery (with nice drill sounds). The film has been criticised with many finding the plot muddled, convoluted and disconnected, but in my mind it is faced with the same issues of most supernatural thrillers from The Magus (1968) onwards: of establishing an intriguing premise, building the plot tension, but then having to resolve the irrational in some kind of rational way. To its credit, for much of its running time Kyofu delivers a number of spooky moments, with dark, dingy sets and a nice, subtle sound design, and if the climax is not all it should be the film still has its tense moments and a few shocks. I was far more entertained than I had expected to be; just enjoy and don’t think too hard.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Kyufo is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. I suspect the original theatrical ratio, which is not listed by the IMDb, is 1.85:1 as there occasionally seemed a little information missing on the sides of the frame. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a very dark film. Colours are muted and dull, and characters often seem to merge into the dark background, making them difficult to see clearly. I suspect that this is deliberate – in one flashback sequence the flowers are vibrant reds, greens and yellows, the frame light and bright. The result is that detail can sometimes be lost. Blacks however are solid, brightness and contrast are consistent. There was some low level noise in some of the darker scenes and film grain was evident; otherwise I did not see any film or film to video artefacts.

     The English subtitles are in a yellow font and are easy to read. I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice between Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps.

     The 5.1 track is very good. Dialogue is clear and centred, the surrounds giving a nice enveloping feel. The track is not too aggressive but uses the surrounds more subtly for scary noises, breathing, car sounds and the music. The subwoofer added bass to music and effects without unbalancing the sound design.

     The 2.0 track is not surround encoded. It sounded quite dull and flat from the small portion I sampled.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     I could not find a composer credited. The score is quite good, adding to the tension in sequences without ever going into obvious or over the top territory. It was a good adjunct to the visuals.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Original Trailer (1:26)

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for other films from Madman: Reign of Assassins (1:44), Mutant Girls Squad (1:42), Ju-on: Black Ghost White Ghost (1:09), Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (1:13) and Cure (1:48).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Kyofu is not listed on sales sites in either Region 1 US or Region 2 UK. Yesasia.com has listed a Region 2 Japan and Region 3 HK version; neither has any extras other than a trailer, and the Japanese release lacks English subtitles. The local release is fine.

Summary

     Producer Takashige Ichise and screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi launched the J-horror with the Ring series of films; from the same pair comes Kyofu, a tale of a mad scientist, brain experiments, and visions of the afterlife. For much of its running time Kyofu delivers a number of spooky moments, with dark, dingy sets and a nice, subtle sound design.

     The video is acceptable, the audio good; a trailer is the only extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, June 08, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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