If you’re any kind of horror fan then you’ve more than likely explored some of the great movies categorised in shorthand as J-horror (what with them being from Japan and all), and if you’ve explored some of the great J-horror movies then you know the name Hideo Nakata. This is the director who, arguably, kickstarted the resurgent interest in horror movies from Japan when he gave Ringu to the world, followed over the next few years by Ringu 2 and the impressive Dark Water.
The Complex has neither the atmosphere, frights nor emotional heart of any of those movies. I just thought I’d make that clear right now. Fans may well be thinking “but, surely, this is worth a watch.” I’d have to say that it isn’t. It’s a big waste of time, albeit one with moments of nice camerawork. And that’s it. Really.
Ryuta Miyake stars as Asuka, a young woman who starts to fear for her life after making a grisly discovery in the apartment complex that she has just moved into with her parents and her little brother. Hiroki Marimiya is Sasahara, a young man who knows a little bit about dealing with dark fears, and he tries to help Asuka as she starts to become more and more perturbed. There’s also a little boy (Kanau Tanaka) who may just be the right person to help cheer up Asuka. Or maybe he’s also been affected by the dark and scary complex.
I started writing this review with the intention of generously highlighting at least one or two great moments that take place in the movie. I can’t do that. Sadly, I genuinely can’t think of ANY great moments worth mentioning. There are no scares, in my opinion. A couple of moments aim for creepy and almost make it, but they don’t actually scare. Other moments come along and are obviously supposed to be impressive and surprising, but they’re not. At this stage in the game, with such unimpressive delivery, they just fall flat.
The acting is okay, I guess. The script is . . . . . okay. The direction is, you guess it, okay. Which makes the movie average, right? No, it doesn’t. All of these elements put together drag it down, making the whole thing an unenjoyable, and DULL, viewing experience. In fact, I was tempted to rate the movie even lower, but for the fact that I enjoyed the way in which the title refers to both the building featured in the movie and also the guilt carried by various main characters.
Undemanding fans may find some enjoyment from this, but I highly recommend checking out any number of films before giving this one your time.
DIRECTOR: HIDEO NAKATA
WRITER: RYUTA MIYAKE, JUNYA KATO
STARS: ATSUKO MAEDA, HIROKI MARIMIYA, KANAU TANAKA
RUNTIME: 106 MINS APPROX