Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sweet Home (1989)

Sweet Home has been on my hard drive for a long time now. There's no easy way to obtain a legal copy, so downloading is the way until there's a 4 disc Blu-Ray special edition of this awesome haunted house-movie. It was release simultaneously as a Famicom-game with the same name, and the fun trailer for the movie is plugging both of them at the same time. And the movie looks way much more fun.

A TV-crew is going to an old mansion out in the forest to restore and make a TV-episode about a famous painter and the murals that are suppose to be inside the house. It's the middle aged producer, his daughter, their female director, a camera man and the woman that's suppose to restore and examine the murals. When they arrive they find not only one mural, but several, each one more bizarre than the other... and it won't take long until one of the characters being possessed by a ghost and starting to dig up dead babies in the woods... soon they are trapped inside a building where the shadows want them dead!

No, as you understand, Sweet Home don't offer anything new at all. It's a mix between every ghost movie ever made, but with a touch of both Japanese craftmanship and not so little inspiration from Argento and his Italian colleagues of horror. Sweet Home is thick with atmosphere, which easy compensates the quite underwritten characters. Not that they are boring, but to be honest: this is a special effects movie and it's made only to scare the shit out of the Japanese audience with gore, visual effects and a big scary house.

The colors and shadows are strong, and there's no way Kiyoshi Kurosawa is trying to hide the cool stuff for his audience. You'll see people being melted in two parts, hatchet in head, graphic melting, dead babies screaming, one of the coolest final-ghosts I've ever seen in a movie. It's both rubber-deluxe and a lot of fantastic visual effects that clearly are on the same level as the Americans during this time. Dick Smith was involved in this movie too, and I have no idea how much - but the make up-effects and everything else looks amazing. His trademark old age-make up is included anyway, but I guess he had a lot of other things to do too.

But I would also say, even if the movie is so cool it's not real, that it's a bit to long. It drags even with non-stop effects and scares, and could have a lot more powerful with 10-15 minutes on the cutting room-floor, just to tighten up the pace. But maybe it would have been different in 1989, when I would never have the possibility to check Facebook or the email on my iPhone.

This is a movie that we need a remastered DVD or blu-ray of, and why there's no such thing is a mystery.


Anonymous said...

The movie sounded cool, or at least worth a watch, but became immediately essential when you wrote the words "Kiyoshi Kurosawa". I'm a big fan of his work, he's a great director, and I had no idea this existed. I'll have

guitarbrother said...

A very enjoyable film which unfortunately can only be viewed on a crappy dub. Considering it's Kurosawa and a Japanese horror film you'd think that would be enough to merit a decent release, which it hopefully gets one day. It's a shame to watch such a good looking film with such a shoddy transfer. Good review.

Richard of DM said...

Hey, I just reviewed Sweet Home over at my blog and Googling led me here. I didn't find this movie boring at all. I wouldn't have wanted it to be any longer or anything but I thought the pacing was just fine. By the way, I'm digging on your blog, duder. I'll be lurking.