Plot Outline: “Cure” or as it is known in it’s native tongue as
“Kyua” is one of the most unnerving films I’ve watched in recent memory. The film directed by Kiyoshi
Kurosawa–no relation to Akira–deals with a puzzling string of murders involving people who seemingly
remember nothing afterwards. However, there is one connection between all the murders, they all seem to have an X carved into their necks. This causes the main character, a detective–played wonderfully by Koji Yakusho–to question if there is some other force in the works.
“Kyua” doesn’t waste its time with genre conventions; it’s not a whodunit. The film’s villain is quickly revealed. It’s truly a film about the depraved, lower levels of the human mind. The enigmatic murderer–played perfectly by Masato
Hagiwara–has the ability to hypnotize his victims into murdering for him. He is a new type of villain: one who uses a mere lighter, a buzzing sound, the drips of rain drops, water streaming across the floor, as means to control your mind. However, for all his manipulative strengths he has an obvious weakness, he has no short term memory, or does he? His ability or natural defect allows him to frustrate interrogators to the point of hostility. A typical conversation goes around in circles. For every question he is asked he repeats with five more, returning the conversation back to the root question. His creepy desire to ask his characters about what they do serves as a tension builder; that is how he slowly mesmerizes his victims into a submissive mental state.
The truly chilling idea behind this film is gently hinted at in the background. This is a very subtle,
and abstruse film dealing with the lack of motivation and the internally malicious desires we all
harbor but never let out. As one character points out in the film; hypnosis can only be used to entice
people to do something they already have an idea to perform. I don’t know if this will send chills
down everyone’s spine like it did mine, but the notion that all the murders in this film are
premeditated desires is a very creepy thought.
Dark, tragic, and ambiguous. Not the adjectives you want to use to describe a Saturday night get
together flick. This isn’t going to go well with most mainstream audiences; who will find it’s long
takes, wide shots, and still camera movements extremely tedious. Film buffs on the other end and
people who like to be immersed in films will appreciate the realism of the settings, the dilapidated housing, the dark lighting, the ambient noises making up the soundtrack, and the foreboding
Kurosawa, is not a household name here, but in his native country he is directed a number of genre
films. While uninformed connections can be made to Akira Kurosawa, they aren’t all unwarranted. Kurosawa shows a genius’ level of restraint, intelligence, and confidence behind the camera. The
ending of “Kyua” is disturbing without ever being clear cut. The hints at things more sinister than
the ones we’ve just witnessed leave a searing hole of lingering in the mind. “Kyua” is a perturbing
masterpiece. A deranged, unnerving, lingering masterpiece of psychological horror.