Student Yamano Koichi records with his video camera the arrival home of his sister Haruka (Aoyama Noriko), 27, after she broke both her legs in a car accident in the US. Their father Shigeyuki (Tsumura Kazuyuki) is leaving on a business trip, so Koichi has to look after his sister while she slowly recovers. The following morning Haruka finds her wheelchair has mysteriously moved during the night, so Koichi leaves a pile of salt in the room, joking that it will “drive off evil spirits”. Next morning, the salt has been flattened, and a video recording that Koichi secretly made shows the salt being moved by an unseen force. The rest of the movie plays out by showcasing the hauntings and whatnot. Nagae Toshikazu is no stranger to the ghost/horror genre having directed “Ghost System” and “Gakko No Kaidan” but as with those films, his tendency to overplay the fear factor does do a disservice to the audience.
The film gets more and more tense as the story progresses, but it’s the characters that draw you into the story. What Koichi discovers is beyond anything he could have ever imagined and, as the situations intensify, a terrible fact is revealed. I won’t spoil the surprise, after all, here’s something you don’t see too often: a Japanese adaptation of an American horror franchise. For fans of this very specific genre, Tokyo Night is an OK movie without being in any way great.
That being said, I give applause to Japanese filmmakers for doing what seems to be common-place in the US these days, that is, ripping off movies from other countries. Though not as terrifying and effective as its two American predecessors, Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night features some good scares, and plenty of shocks and suspense. The real kicker for me was the explanation as to why these paranormal events are happening to Haruka. It was interesting to see the Shinto blessing/exorcism rituals and I wish they would have played that up more.
If this is what you’re looking for, then chances are you’re going to walk away with a smile on your face and a shiver down your spine. For me, it was more of the same. After my initial viewing of the film, I gotta say it was like first 2 sequels. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just leave it at this: If you liked Paranormal Activity, you’re gonna love this too. I didn’t quite get a sense of suspense nor danger with this one but I still had a good time. For any movie that warrants a good final grade. Horror fans should check this one out! It makes for a decent entry into the wildly popular Paranormal Activity franchise.