Starring: Eriko Sato, Haruhiko Katô, Miki Mizuno, Chiharu Kawai, Rie
Kuwana

Directed by: Kôji Shiraishi

Story: Legend holds that 30 years ago, a suburban town was terrorized
by the spirit of a woman whose beautiful face had been grotesquely
disfigured by a jealous husband. Roaming the streets wearing a long coat
and surgical mask, the spirit would approach her young victims and, while
removing the mask, ask if she was pretty. The victim’s response would
almost always lead to their violent death. Now, one by one, children are
disappearing again.


Review:

There's nothing quite like a good urban legend. Especially the ones that
have to do with creepy women. Everyone knows the tale of Bloody Mary
and Candyman, but have you ever heard of the slit-mouthed woman? I
haven't, until now. Actually I think I've heard it way too many times within
the 90 minute time span. It's only been a day, and I'm already sick of
hearing about the slit-mouthed woman. Sometime ago I received a copy of
Carved on DVD. Carved (Slit-Mouthed Woman) is a tale from Japan that
deals with a town in fear. Everybody and their mother is gossiping about
the slit-mouthed woman. The kids keep talking about it in school, and
depending on who tells you the story gets more weird and confusing. I
hate spreading rumors, but something tells me that I should spread a
rumor to everyone saying that this movie sucks. Well then that wouldn't be
a rumor now would it? Because it's the truth. This movie blows more than
a hungry prostitute (I know, that was a bad line).

Legend holds that 30 years ago, a suburban town was terrorized by the
spirit of a woman whose beautiful face had been grotesquely disfigured by
a jealous husband. The slit-mouthed woman is said to be a creepy ghost
who roams the streets wearing a long coat and surgical mask. The spirit
would approach her young victims and, while removing the mask, ask if she
was pretty. Think "Bloody Mary," but as a hot Japanese woman with a cut
face. The victim’s response would almost always lead to their violent and
horrible death. Now, one by one, children are disappearing again. Kids are
starting to spread rumors in school that the slit-mouthed woman has
returned and appears at a certain time at the local park. As teachers and
officials desperately begin to investigate the kidnappings, a panic begins to
build as the woman’s spirit returns for some unfinished business and the
town's dark secrets are exposed (supposedly).

Now you must be asking yourself, is the film really that bad? To be quite
honest with you, no not really. If anything Carved is actually decent, but
the direction it went was really predictable and irritating. The film starts off
great. It got my attention right away because you get to see the villain
within the first 9 minutes of the movie. This is what makes Carved different
from all the other supernatural Japanese movies. Not only do you get to
see the slit-mouthed woman right away, but she appears more as a real
person. She doesn't glow in the dark and you can actually touch her. She
does have the ability to disappear however, and it comes in handy when
she gathers up a group of kids who have been abused by their parents.
Another thing that makes Carved different is the fact that this slit-mouthed
woman is a local celebrity. Everybody and their parents know about the
legend, and they know what she looks like.

It's like Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven's New Nightmare, the villain is
almost as famous Santa Claus. This aspect of the film is interesting and
different, but annoying at the same time. You kind of get tired of hearing
about the legend, because it's just repetitive. Luckily, Carved does get
straight to the point. There isn't a whole lot of mystery in the film. The only
real mystery is on the slit-mouthed woman's back story. How did she come
to be? What are her motives? What drives her to kill? None of these
questions are answered. That's how straight forward it is, and it really
hurts the movie. You only get one small back story about how she used to
beat her kids senseless. It doesn't feel at all realistic, but then again that's
not why we're here. The only realistic part is seeing these mature adults
beat the hell out of their children. Abuse plays a really big role in Carved.
Adults aren't really the ones getting harmed here.

The slit-mouthed woman only goes after kids, and usually it's a disturbing
thing to see. Kids get killed and mutilated on screen, but you only get to
see the aftermath. Depending on whose point of view it is, you might find it
hard to swallow. One thing that's odd about the kidnappings is that there's
always a witness. Whenever the slit-mouthed woman takes a child,
somebody is there watching and they're pissing their pants with fear.
Which of course means that the villain always gets away with it. Does
nobody ever thinks to drop kick her and prevent it from happening? No.
Everyone is so scared from hearing all the stories that they freeze
whenever they see her. This leaves no room for suspense, you'll spend
most of your time yelling at the screen because the characters are paper
thin and make lousy decisions. When they do try to prevent the
kidnapping, they take up way too much time and end up failing anyway.

Haven't we learned anything in the last 20 years? Whoever writes
characters like this anymore is beyond me. Apparently Japan is a little
behind when it comes to building up good characters. By the time you get
to the last 15 minutes of the movie, you will have lost all hope. Carved
starts off interesting, but it just drags more as it goes on. The last few
scenes in the film drag big time. The film's runtime is short compared to
most movies, but it's small story made it feel way too long. If that wasn't
bad enough, the ending is BEYOND HORRIBLE. Seriously, the ending could
have been so much better. It was just way too predictable. Alright, I think
I've made my point already. I'll admit, the film isn't all bad. It does have its
moments, but it's far from being a great movie. There's just nothing here
that's new or innovating. It's something you can pass, or rent if you think
the cover "looks cool". But really, who wouldn't want to make out with that
face?


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Overall: 5/10
Genres: Horror

Rated:

Country: Japan

Year: 2007

Runtime: 90 minutes

Studio: Tartan Video

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Review done by: Nightmare Child
Online since: February 20th, 2006
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