A restrained horror pic that goes against the genre's recent tendency toward excruciating deaths.

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Greed and need provide grist for Hideo Nakata’s haunted-house mill in “The Incite Mill: 7 Day Death trò chơi.” An enjoyable murder mystery, this restrained horror pic goes against the genre’s recent tendency toward excruciatingly detailed deaths, but still wants khổng lồ be scary. Japanese auds, who lapped up every “Saw” installment, have forked over $14 million for “Incite Mill” since its October release, but international auds are unlikely to lớn embrace the pic as enthusiastically. Without an increase in gore, sequels and a Stateside remake are highly unlikely.

Two stretch limos deliver 10 “psychological experiment” participants lớn a futuristic compound in the middle of nowhere. Lured by the promise of a hefty sum, the guinea pigs run the full gamut of types, from an arrogant medical student (Tsuyoshi Abe) và a housewife (Sawako Fuchi) to lớn an aging alcoholic architect (Kinya Kitaoji). Unemployed slacker Yuki (Tatsuya Fujiwara) emerges as the pic’s central protag, as well as its conscience.

Herded around a table laden with food in a luxurious circular room, the participants have an expository chat before a mechanical toy Indian on the table (an overt nod lớn Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”) announces the rules of the experiment: They will be pitted against each other, và only two participants will emerge alive sầu with the promised cash. The contestants retire to lớn their allocated rooms, while a 1960s-style sci-fi robot, called “Guard,” patrols the compound’s corridors looking lớn eliminate any rule-breakers. Like a post-WWII pacifist, Yuki makes a plea for group unity và cooperation so everyone can survive, but the discovery of the bullet-riddled toàn thân of paranoid salaryman Nishino (Masanori Ishii) ups the financial ante và the paranoia levels.

Based on a story by Honobu Yonezawa, the script will win no prizes for originality. With the exceptions of Yuki & the boozy architect, most of the characters don’t go beyond thumbnail sketches.

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Forgoing the atmospherics that brought his J-horror efforts like “Ringu” and “Dark Water” to international attention, Nakata’s direction is disciplined & professional. Pic makes a half-baked attempt to extract a sociological metaphor from its setup, while its restrained approach khổng lồ onscreen killing suggests a muted critique of the genre’s current excesses. Despite an inhouse arsenal that extends from nail guns to lớn battle-axes, pic offers only mild violence; lượt thích the old-fashioned Agatha Christie puzzlers the script references, “The Incite Mill” prefers lớn focus on mystery rather than murderous mayhem.

Result offers relatively mild scares, though an eerie, unsettling soundtrachồng by Kenji Kawai raises goosebumps. Junichiro Hayashi’s lensing is pro, and mix design by Iwao Saito lớn for the compound is an agreeable blend of upper-class elegance và ’60s space-age chic.

The Incite Mill: 7 Day Death Game


Production:A Warner Bros. Japan release of a Warner Bros. Japan, HoriPro, Nippon Television Network, YTV, Twins Japan Prod. Co. production. (International sales: Nippon Television Network, Tokyo.) Produced by Atsuyuki Shimodomain authority. Directed by Hideo Nakata. Screenplay, Satoshi Suzuki, Mikiko Koyama, based on the story "Bungeishunju" by Honobu Yonezawa.Crew:Camera (color, widescreen), Junichiro Hayashi; editor, Nobuyuki Takahashi; music, Kenji Kawai; production designer, Iwao Saito; sound (Dolby Digital), Kiyoshi Kakizawa; assistant director, Hirofungươi Inatía. Reviewed on DVD, Sydney, Nov. 3, 2010. (In Tokyo Film Festival -- market; Montreal World, Rome film festivals.) Running time: 107 MIN.With:With: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Haruka Ayase, Satomày Ishihara, Tsuyoshi Abe, Aya Hirayama, Masanori Ishii, Takuro Ohno, Shinji Takedomain authority, Nagisa Katahira, Kinya Kitaoji, Sawako Fuchi. Music By:
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