|The Slit-Mouthed Woman (2007)|
|Writers:||Naoyuki Yokota and Koji Shiraishi|
|Starring:||Eriko Satô, Haruhiko Katô and Chiharu Kawai|
|The Plot: Our story takes place primarily at an elementary school within Japan, where the story of “the slit-mouthed woman” has come back into popularity with the youth. The original story seems to be that the slit mouthed woman is indeed just that, a woman whose mouth has been slit from one cheek to the other. She often appears wearing a long white coat and a surgical mask over her face, and then asks “Am I pretty?” Afterward she kidnaps her victims and then cuts their faces to look like her own, with her primary weapon being a large pair of scissors. In the context of our story, it seems that after a relatively large earthquake the slit mouthed woman’s rest has been disturbed and she arises to torment all of the young people within Japan. Our story focuses on several people in the surrounding area, including two teachers, who must confront this evil spirit. Will they figure a way to stop the evil slit mouthed woman? And who exactly is she?|
Despite the intense atmosphere of The Slit Mouthed Woman, it remains a fairly unconventional movie in its delivery. Although it most certainly has all of the expected beats that a horror movie such as this one would be expected to have, the way that Shiraishi approaches delivering the horror is very different. The idea of shooting a horror movie in the broad daylight is a gutsy prospect no matter how you look at it, and that is exactly what Shiraishi does with The Slit Mouthed Woman. Almost every time that I, as a viewer, have ever seen this done it has always had disastrous results. When everything is so broadly visible, it becomes very difficult to build tension or fear. In this regard, I have to commend The Slit Mouthed Woman. Although it isn’t a terrifying movie, it does manage to develop a very dark atmosphere. At times, the movie is actually so intense that it can be rather chilling. When I contemplate the sequence that leads to the first physical altercation between our two lead characters, both of whom are teachers at the local elementary school, and the Slit Mouthed Woman… I am slightly taken back. The scene leads to one of the first “jump scares” to really catch me off guard in a very long time. The scene is built upon in a very innocent way and Shiraishi doesn’t go about any of the scares in a cheap or tactless manner throughout the movie. When the filmmaker proves to be this patient in scaring the audience, he can figure ways to make 5pm seem like a rather spooky time of the day. The disturbing look of the slit mouthed woman certainly has a part in making this “daylight horror” actually work, but the taut editing and post-production filters are generally what gives the movie its creepy atmosphere.