films seen
24
average score
2.58*
nationality
Japan - 61 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

The man who helped kick-start the Asian suspense wave. He made a couple of decent films along the way, though his "less-is-more" approach to horror is somewhat of an acquired taste. If you care about film history though, there's no way around Nakata.

The good stuff

Kaidan

2007 / 115m - Japan
Drama, Romance, Horror
4.0*/5.0*
Kaidan poster

Dark Water

Honogurai Mizu no Soko Kara
2002 / 101m - Japan
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
4.0*/5.0*
Dark Water poster

Solid pieces

The Complex

Kuroyuri Danchi
2013 / 106m - Japan
Horror
3.5*/5.0*
The Complex poster

Chatroom

2010 / 97m - UK
Drama, Thriller
3.5*/5.0*
Chatroom poster

Chaos

Kaosu
2000 / 90m - Japan
Mystery, Thriller, Crime
3.5*/5.0*
Chaos poster

The inoffensive

Usogui

2022 / 120m - Japan
Thriller
3.0*/5.0*
Usogui poster

Hideo Nakata returns with a gambler epic. It's not that Nakata turned his back on horror cinema completely, but he's been branching out for quite a while now. Usogui is a pretty decent film, but it's also blockbuster fodder that lacks a real signature and can't compete with the better films in the genre.

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Baku overplays his hand when he tries to become the leader of the Kakero organization, a wealthy club that oversees large bets. He is exiled and flees Tokyo, but a few years later he sees a path to rejoin the organization. For that, he will need all his skills and cunning because his adversaries are just as crafty as he is.

The elongated gambling scenes are pretty fun, the problem is that the outcome is always very predictable and the little twists aren't really all that genius. Performances are decent and the production values are high, but it's not really enough to make this one stand out. Solid and decent entertainment though.

Stolen Identity

Sumaho o Otoshita Dake Na no Ni
2018 / 116m - Japan
Thriller, Crime
3.0*/5.0*
Stolen Identity poster

Hideo Nakata's tech thriller. It's a bit like watching an update of The Net (1995), only with some serial killer elements thrown in to make it a bit more exciting. It's actually somewhat successful too, though this film mostly underlines that Nakata hasn't been on top of his game for quite a while now.

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Makoto is late for a meeting and stuck in traffic. He decides to take the train instead, but he forgets his phone in his cab. Shortly afterwards his girlfriend receives a call for a man who has found Makoto's phone. She picks it up and everything seems back to normal, what she doesn't know is that Makoto's phone got hacked.

Stolen Identity isn't a bad film, Nakata's direction is competent and a couple of minor twists keep things interesting. On the other hand, it's not a very notable film. Performances are decent, so is the cinematography and score, there's just little here that makes a big impression. Entertaining filler though.

Ghost Theater

Gekijô Rei
2015 / 99m - Japan
Horror
3.0*/5.0*
Ghost Theater poster

Monsterz

2014 / 112m - Japan
Drama, Sci-fi
3.0*/5.0*
Monsterz poster

The Incite Mill

Inshite Miru: 7-Kakan no Desu Gêmu
2010 / 107m - Japan
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
3.0*/5.0*
The Incite Mill poster

Last Scene

2002 / 99m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
3.0*/5.0*
Last Scene poster

Worthy but flawed

Stolen Identity 2

Sumaho wo Otoshita Dake Na no Ni: Toraware no Satsujinki
2020 / 118m - Japan
Thriller
2.5*/5.0*
Stolen Identity 2 poster

More of the same, only less interesting. Nakata's Stolen Identity was a decent but somewhat bland techno-thriller, the second part is a bit blander still. It feels too much like an expanded TV series episode, void of cinematic qualities and only interested in serving a police investigation with mediocre twists and turns.

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Urano is safely locked behind bars, but new bodies turn up in the same place Urano ditched his victims. Detective Kagaya learns that somebody helped Urano, and the only way to get to him is by using Urano's dark web access. The police cut a deal with him and together they try to catch M, the mastermind behind the entire operation.

The cinematography is poor, the performances leave a lot to be desired and the plot is mediocre. The second half is a little better, as there are some proper reveals, but it's not enough to make this a worthwhile film. It's decent thriller filler, but Nakata can do so much better. Too lazy for its own good.

Sadako

2019 / 99m - Japan
Horror
2.5*/5.0*
Sadako poster

Another entry in the Ringu franchise, helmed by Nakata himself. It's more mystery/drama than horror though and the few scares that are there are greatly ineffective. It feels like a film from a bygone era, but judged on its own merits it's not a terrible film. Just don't expect too much from it and don't try to compare it to the other films in the franchise.

The Woman Who Keeps a Murderer

Satsujinki o Kau Onna
2019 / 82m - Japan
Thriller
2.5*/5.0*
The Woman Who Keeps a Murderer poster

A mediocre thriller. Performances are decent and there are a few tense moments, but the plot isn't all that interesting and the drama fails to impress. Though short, the film is basic and struggles to keep the attention. It's been a while since Nakata made anything worthwhile, this film isn't doing much to fix his faltering reputation.

Life in Overtime

Owatta Hito
2018 / 125m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
2.5*/5.0*
Life in Overtime poster

Mediocre dramady about forced retirement and the difficulties some people have with the change of pace. Japanese work culture is a bit different from ours, but it shouldn't be too hard to follow. Sadly the performances aren't that great, the comedy is rather weak and Nakata isn't the best drama director. Not terrible, but very forgettable.

White Lily

Howaito Riri
2016 / 80m - Japan
Drama
2.5*/5.0*
White Lily poster

The Sleeping Bride

Garasu no Nô
2000 / 100m - Japan
Drama, Romance
2.5*/5.0*
The Sleeping Bride poster

Dubious filler

Stigmatized Properties

Jiko Bukken: Kowai Madori
2020 / 111m - Japan
Horror
2.0*/5.0*
Stigmatized Properties poster

I think Nakata has reached the point where he needs to ask himself if he feels he still has something to add to the horror genre. Stigmatized Properties felt like a 25-year-old film that just happened to be made last year. It is so insanely derivative and uninspired that you have to wonder why Nakata even bothered.

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After a comical duo disbands their act, one of them lands a job as a TV host, with the other on board as a screenwriter. His job is to seek out haunted houses and spend the night there. He gets lucky on his first job as his camera registers a spirit. He becomes an overnight sensation and before he knows it, he is on his way to his second haunted house.

There is a lot of padding here, which isn't very interesting at all. Generic characters and Nakata's tepid direction simply don't support a dramatic narrative. The bigger problem though is that none of the haunts are scary. It's just the same old ghosts and apparitions doing the same old things. The ending gives the film a small boost, other than that this is for the most hardened J-Horror fans only.

Plain forgettable

Death Note: L Change the World

L: Change the World
2008 / 129m - Japan
Drama, Thriller, Crime
1.5*/5.0*
Death Note: L Change the World poster

The Ring 2

2005 / 110m - USA
Horror, Mystery
1.5*/5.0*
The Ring 2 poster

Ring 2

Ringu 2
1999 / 95m - Japan
Sci-fi, Horror, Mystery
1.5*/5.0*
Ring 2 poster

Ring

Ringu
1998 / 96m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
1.5*/5.0*
Ring poster

Ghost Actress

Joyû-Rei
1996 / 74m - Japan
Fantasy, Horror
1.5*/5.0*
Ghost Actress poster

Big nopes

Scary True Stories: Curse, Death & Spirit

Honto ni Atta Kowai Hanashi: Jushiryou
1992 / 65m - Japan
Horror
1.0*/5.0*
Scary True Stories: Curse, Death & Spirit poster