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. Basically this film tells this Japanese urban legend, which unfolds quite nicely. A pair of young teachers investigate the kidnapping of several students. What is certain is that the victims of the slit-mouth woman are children who are alone. Director and co-writer Kaji Shiraishi also examines the relationships between mothers and children.
More or less, Slit Mouthed Woman heads into the direction of a slasher, even though it tries to stick to at least a bit of Japanese ghost mythology, by bestowing some dramatic background story of a cursed woman on the movie. Among horror fans, this movie will please, but as a casual movie goer there is a lot to nit pick.
Which brings us to another point. Some may find the child murders to be repulsive and unnecessary, others however may argue that only this way the film gets the essential horror impact. And while the viewer does receive ample displeasure (or enjoyment for some) from its settings, the film does deliver a substantial amount of character development to ease the thought-provoking horror aficionado’s nerves just a little.
In terms of the actual filmmaking craft, Shiraishi knows how to create mood with his somber lighting, especially when his characters are inside a darkened house. This can be a very creepy film to view. With her bright yellow contact lenses and slashed mouth, Miki Mizuno in the title role could well be as upsetting to viewers, even without pulling out that long pair of scissors. There are aspects to this movie that are cliched, as I have stated above, but the sight of Mizuno when the mouth is uncovered will probably give even the most die-hard horror movie fans a pause, even if I ruined the shock effect by enclosing the screenshot above lol. I know many film purists out there will be quick to hate this movie, but B-movie flair can be quite nice at times. Final note, the attached trailer does not have English subtitles (couldn’t locate one in time), but if you are seeking this movie stateside, you are in luck as it was renamed ‘Carved’ for U.S. audiences. Slightly Recommended.