Japanese Legends: Slit FILM REVIEW
Director Pablo Absento returns with her latest venture, JAPANESE LEGENDS, a horror anthology series which draws inspiration from Japanese urban legends. I'm sure western audiences aren't that familiar with Japanese urban legends so undoubtedly there is a treasure trove of affecting and chilling tales to be told. Absento, who previously directed the supernatural short films CALL MY NAME and SHI, now brings us the first installment of the JAPANESE LEGENDS series, a short film titled SLIT.
During the film's opening moments we are introduced to a woman in a dilapidated and seemingly abandoned building. What she's doing there and why is not clear. If you are familiar with Absento's previous films than you wouldn't be wrong to think that what you are witnessing is supernatural in some way. The way she first appears will likely remind viewers of moments they may have seen in other J-Horror films. Within moments you start venturing guesses as to who she is and what she is. The actions this woman takes don't seem at all out of the ordinary except perhaps for the immediate surroundings she's doing them in. There certainly seems to be something off here but then she goes outside and everything seems normal. No?
SLIT is very much about the set up. You know you have sat down to watch a horror film so you are left wondering what exactly this is building up to. Well, the film delivers. It delivers the horror element one expects and provides an effective payoff. However, the horror that this film delivers does not lie in what you do see but in what you don't see. The horror becomes clear as you piece together everything you've seen before, what you've just witnessed and its lasting repercussions. Without even being shown you fully understand the sobering truth that lies at the heart of this urban legend. Absento respects and trusts the audience to sort it out and hopefully come to the same conclusions. Kudos to her for resisting the need to add unnecessary exposition to make things more plain.
SLIT features great cinematography by Ivan Kovac. He captures the interiors rather nicely and the gloominess of the exteriors really shines through. The performances, which includes Absento as The Woman, are minimal but still effective. There isn't a great deal of dialogue but what is said and what is done really drives the story forward. Eric Elick provides a suitably atmospheric score and I rather enjoyed his opening title theme in particular. Absento's latest directorial effort is a well made short that not only effectively tells its own story but really wets one's appetite for future installments. I for one am really looking forward to Episode 2.
Absento's film recently had it's online premiere via FANGORIA magazine and can be viewed by clicking here.
Japanese Legends: Slit
Director: Pablo Absento
Screenplay: Pablo Absento
Starring: Pablo Absento, Steven LeFever
Running Time: 9 minutes
***** = Outstanding ****1/2 = Excellent **** = Very Good ***1/2 = Above Average
*** = Good **1/2 = Mediocre ** = Fair *1/2 = Poor * = Bad 1/2* = Abysmal