films seen
25
average score
2.84*
nationality
Japan - 49 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Shiraishi is one of the few survivors of the Japanese suspense wave of the early 00s. He's a core horror director who rarely leaves his comfort zone, but if you're looking for some solid horror work you really can't go wrong with him.

The good stuff

Grotesque

Gurotesuku
2009 / 73m - Japan
Horror
4.0*/5.0*
Grotesque poster

Grotesque is for all those people who need a lesson in what torture porn flicks really are.

Solid pieces

A Beast in Love

Koisuru Kedamono
2020 / 85m - Japan
Comedy, Thriller
3.5*/5.0*
A Beast in Love poster

Shiraishi, best known for his horror work, comes with something a little different. A Beast in Love is tricky to describe, but at heart it's a dark (even vile) comedy with thriller, horror and light romance elements to flesh things out. The result's a bit of a mess, but if you can appreciate Shiraishi's sense of humor, there's a lot of fun to be had.

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In an unnamed town, deplorables gather to escape from their dark past. One particularly shy-looking guy stands out between all the crazies, when pushed even he turns into a manic serial killer. Several people are out to get him, but it's a creepy cross dresser who appears to be the most interested.

There are no heroes, no likeable characters. The film does come with a big trigger warning since one of them is a cross dresser and there's only room for negative stereotypes here. If that doesn't bother you than you can brace yourself for a bit of excessive Japanese weirdness. The technical qualities aren't quite up to par, but the comedy hit the mark for me and the runtime is pretty short. Very fun and entertaining filler.

Hell Girl

Jigoko Shojo
2019 / 107m - Japan
Fantasy, Horror
3.5*/5.0*
Hell Girl poster

Koji Shiraishi is one of those faithful horror directors. Even though the international interest in Japanese horror has waned over the past decade, Shiraishi's love for the genre clearly hasn't. It's nice to see though that Shiraishi isn't married to a single style of horror, Hell Girl shows a different side of Japanese horror cinema.

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The film isn't your typical less is more, black-haired ghost horror, instead it's a more fantastical kind of horror that offers a mix of modern and traditional Japanese horror elements. The story about an ongoing curse feels contemporary, but the characters and moody kills hark back to the classier horror of the past.

The film looks pretty nice (safe some poor CG moments), performances are solid and the mix of fantasy and horror offers a nice change of pace. I wasn't a big fan of the setting (the Japanese pop scene isn't all that interesting), but it hardly affected the film. One of Shiraishi's better films.

Impossibility Defense

Funôhan
2017 / 106m - Japan
Mystery, Thriller
3.5*/5.0*
Impossibility Defense poster

Interesting thriller with supernatural elements to spice things up. There's also a series attached to this film, no surprises there, but Shiraishi makes enough of an effort to have this film rise above its roots. It gets a little too plot-heavy when the film is working itself to its finale, but all in all an entertaining diversion.

3.5*/5.0*
Senritsu Kaiki File Kowasugi! Final Chapter poster

The final chapter in the series, though of course, it isn't quite final. Shiraishi went on to make a few more spin-off episodes. For the main franchise though, this was the end, and what an end it was. This is by far the craziest entry in the Senritsu Kaiki franchise, and the way things have been going in the last couple of films, that's quite a bar.

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Tashiro is the only remaining member of the film crew. He continues the work of his predecessors and hits the jackpot when he runs into Eno, a psychic who promises he can bring back Kudo and Ichikawa. For that, Tashiro has to complete four seemingly random missions, each one trickier than the last.

The first two-thirds of the film is still pretty sane, especially if you've seen the previous parts. Then all bets are off and Shiraishi goes all out. Technically it's not great, but there's a creepy mood running throughout and the finale has some pretty wacky ideas. It's a shame the series is coming to a close when things are actually getting good, but at least it ends on a high note. This was not what I expected when I started these films, and that's a big positive.

A Record of Sweet Murder

Aru Yasashiki Satsujinsha no Kiroku
2014 / 86m - Japan
Horror
3.5*/5.0*
A Record of Sweet Murder poster

Interesting film, about a reporter visiting an old friend who is on the run from the authorities. A nifty handheld thriller, with a nice twist and some minor horror elements. Well acted, intriguing from start to finish and sporting a very rewarding finale. One of the better Shiraishi films I've seen.

The inoffensive

A decent but slightly underwhelming horror anthology. Six respected directors tackle 10 horror stories, but with a setup like this there simply isn't enough variation in style and themes. There are no real weak entries, on the other hand far too few shorts that make an effort to stand out. Solid filler, but nothing more.

Museum: Prologue

2016 / 55m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
3.0*/5.0*
Museum: Prologue poster

A prologue to Ohtomo's Museum, directed by Koji Shiraisi in his trademark faux documentary style. It's a film that works best if you've already seen Ohtomo's feature, but it stands well enough on its own too, as it's a separate story. It's not as good as its big brother, but after a rather tepid intro, this prologue does work itself up to a riveting finale.

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A journalist is trying to solve a case about a young girl cast in resin. This attracts the attention of the frog man, who sees in him a perfect victim. He kidnaps the journalist's daughter and uses her as bait, forcing the journalist to kidnap another girl and take her to an undisclosed location. To save his daughter, the journalist reluctantly obliges.

The found footage genre is past its prime, which does affect the first half of this film. I'm probably not the only one tired of wonky cameras and people fidgeting with tech onscreen. But once the story unfolds and the nastier dilemmas rear their head, Shiraishi has a tight lock on this film. Not his best work, but pretty dark, fun, short and to the point.

The fifth in the series continues where the last one left off. Slowly a bigger story is weaving itself through the individual cases, but the core hasn't changed all that much. It's not a very remarkable horror series, but each new episode feels snappy and to the point, making it extremely easy to return to the franchise to catch a new entry. Even five episodes in.

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A new case presents itself to our team of paranormal investigators, but the previous story still lingers. Their last film is seen as proof that another realm exists, which is a perfect excuse to bring the crew together again for a new project. This time they're checking out the Oiwa legend, while past events are about to catch up with the TV crew once more.

The compounding lore is fun, though it doesn't change all that much about the setup of the film. It's still all about ghostly apparitions caught on crummy HD camcorders. The exorcism is pretty cool and the Oiwa legend is interesting enough, the film has no extra fat and dives right into the action, but unless you're really new to the found footage genre, there's nothing here you haven't seen before. Easy filler.

One of the best ones so far. Shiraishi doesn't change the concept for this fourth entry, but it is by far one of the most ambitious stories of the bunch. Even though the toilet ghost premise sounds a little daft at first, it eventually takes the film places where I didn't expect it to go, which is a big step up compared to the first three films.

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Once again, a video is submitted to the TV crew now famous for exploring the supernatural. Some girls are breaking into their old school, trying to find out if the legend of Hanako has any truth to it. They find more than they bargained for, and with a video showing a clear apparition, they turn to the crew for help.

The ghost videos are pretty familiar territory, but the setting is cool and the second half of the film is quite different from what I expected it to be. Don't go in hoping for anything too original of course, but at this point, anything that deviates from the norm is a welcome diversion. It's solid horror entertainment, short and to the point, perfect filler in other words.

Occult

Okaruto
2009 / 110m - Japan
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
3.0*/5.0*
Occult poster

Teketeke

2009 / 70m - Japan
Horror
3.0*/5.0*
Teketeke poster

Teketeke 2

2009 / 73m - Japan
Horror
3.0*/5.0*
Teketeke 2 poster

A simple but effective sequel to the first film. Shiriashi loses himself a little in the police investigation, which needlessly slows the film down. Luckily the kills are still lots of fun and the monster is freaky enough, even though the CG doesn't do it justice. It's a short and amusing horror flick, nothing too out of the ordinary but good fun nonetheless.

A Slit-Mouthed Woman

Kuchisake-Onna
2007 / 90m - Japan
Horror
3.0*/5.0*
A Slit-Mouthed Woman poster

Noroi the Curse

Noroi
2005 / 115m - Japan
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
3.0*/5.0*
Noroi the Curse poster

Dark Tales of Japan

Suiyô Puremia: Sekai Saikyô J Horâ SP Nihon no Kowai Yoru
2004 / 92m - Japan
Horror
3.0*/5.0*
Dark Tales of Japan poster

Dead Girl Walking

Za Horâ Kaiki Gekijô: Kaiki! Shinin Shôjo
2004 / 44m - Japan
Horror
3.0*/5.0*
Dead Girl Walking poster

Koji Shiraishi's entry in the Hideshi Hino horror anthology. Back when this was released, Shiraishi wasn't a "big" name yet. His status has changed quite a lot over the years, which makes it always a bit more interesting to watch these forgotten films. Dead Girl Walking certainly isn't the worst film in the anthology.

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On an ordinary day, the young Sayuri suddenly gets a heart attack. She is pronounced dead by the doctor, but Sayuri is conscious, and she can still walk around. She is left in the care of her family as her body slowly starts to deteriorate. When her presence becomes too hard to handle, they decide to kill Sayuri, but she manages to escape.

As with most of these films, the premise sounds pretty basic, but things do get weird real fast. The grim black and white cinematography and some oddball events in the second half really upgrade this film from a simple horror film to something with a more pronounced and memorable signature. Short and sweet.

Worthy but flawed

Part 6 in the Senritsu Kaiki series. It's one of the most complex and ambitious entries in the franchise. On the one hand that's nice, because you're getting something a tad more original. On the other hand, the budget and scope of this series can't really do justice to the concepts presented here, something that really weighs on the ending.

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Kudo is at it again. The latest video he received is sure to accelerate his international breakthrough. A mysterious little mountain village is the target, with an increased production budget he is able to invite a scientist, a spiritual guide, and a gravure idol with him. Already convinced the spirit world exists, Kudo sets out to find more proof.

There's a bit more back story, the film is a good 10 minutes longer than the previous ones, and it certainly helps to have seen the earlier entries in the series if you want to understand what the hell is happening. The horror elements aren't very scary though, the effects are crummy and the more ambitious concept forces them into full view. It's still fun filler, but a more cinematic approach would've done this film a lot of good.

Evil kappas. The problem with this particular yokai is that it is often portrayed as a friendly spirit. I just might have seen too many films with cute and cuddly kappa to be truly terrified by these creatures. Of course, the kappa featured here looks more horrific than many of its counterparts, but a menacing creature of horror it is not.

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The concept of this film series is simple. A TV crew gets sent a video by one of their fans, after which they decide to investigate. This time around we're looking at a young couple who bump into a kappa when they're going fishing. The TV crew is intrigued and together with the couple they decide to explore the place of the sighting.

Fuzzy images, jaggy camera work and some of the more gruesome folklore surrounding the kappa (apparently they rip your balls out through your rectum) are supposed to make you shiver, it just didn't quite work for me. It's still pretty decent genre fun and the short runtime is a blessing, I just liked the others better so far.

A very basic faux doc exercise from Shiraishi. Set up like an actual TV show, this film takes on the legend of the slit-mouthed woman. There are quite a few films about the subject already. Shiraishi's version doesn't really add too much to what's already out there, but if you're looking for decent horror filler this film definitely fits the bill.

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Some kids shoot footage from a mysterious woman stalking their neighborhood. They send over the video material to a documentary crew, who decide to further investigate the story. Some preliminary tests suggest the footage is untampered with, soon enough they're on the trail of the infamous legend, who is turning her attention to the crew.

You'll find the usual faux doc/found footage scares here, but the slit-mouthed woman isn't really all that scary, neither is the added lore about the amulets. Shiraishi delivers a short and fast-paced film, which is good enough if you're starved for Asian horror cinema, but it's a film that will only please the most hardened fans of the genre.

More traditional Japanese horror fare. Shiraishi was smart to turn this into a series of films. These types of features are pretty quick and cheap to produce, and horror fans will eat them up regardless of the quality. Not that these films are bad, they pretty much accomplish what they set out to do, they're just not terribly original.

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Two investigators of the paranormal get a video that shows a shivering ghost in an abandoned building. They jump on the case and go out ghost hunting themselves, with the help of the people who shot the original video. The mystery runs deeper than initially suspected, as one of the original four seeing the ghost turns out to have special powers.

Expect lots of handy cam footage, dark abandoned buildings, messy shots of ghosts and replays that don't really make things that much clearer. It's a pretty established genre by now and Shiraishi doesn't seem too pressed to do anything new with it. It's short and well-paced, it has some decent scares along the way, but beyond that it's the definition of horror filler.

Dubious filler

The Ring vs. The Grudge

Sadako vs. Kayako
2016 / 98m - Japan
Horror
2.0*/5.0*
The Ring vs. The Grudge poster

Ghost Zombie

Yûrei Zonbi
2007 / 71m - Japan
Horror
2.0*/5.0*
Ghost Zombie poster

This isn't Shiraishi's greatest film, not by a long shot. And it's not that I had any real expectations based on the title, it's as basic as you can get. Still, Shiraishi is a pretty decent horror director, but this film falls into the category of quick and cheap filler. There is some fun to be had for sure, but it's purely and strictly for genre fans only.

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A young scholar treks up the mountain, looking for a secluded village. With a couple of local punks he discovers an ancient stone. The punks desecrate the landmark and soon after, the village is dealing with a zombie plague. The scholar is killed on his way out and returns as a ghost, helping a local taxi driver to save the remaining villagers.

So you get ghosts and zombies, with some minor demon activity at the very end. The tone of the film is very light, the effects are pretty cheap and the performances not that great. The film is short though, and it's pretty fast-paced, so all in all it's pretty amusing. Just don't go in expecting a vintage Shiraishi chiller, and you should be okay.

Plain forgettable

Ura Horror

Ura Horâ
2008 / 70m - Japan
Sci-fi, Horror
1.5*/5.0*
Ura Horror poster

A bit too basic for my taste. Ura Horror felt as if Shiraishi had a brainstorm with some writers, then decided to make something with all the leftovers. The result is an anthology that is little more than crude ideas and basic premises, failing to be intriguing or scary. That's not really what you want from a horror film.

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The segments are pretty short and are presented as found footage, recovered from TV stations and private sellers. Each video shows a supernatural or gruesome event. Shiraishi remains truthful to the setup, but maybe a bit too much, as few of the shorts have an actual build-up, nor a fitting pay-off.

It all felt a tad too cheap for my taste. I will say that there were some good ideas here for mid to feature-length projects, but as shorts that don't even cross the 5-minute mark, few, if any of the stories left a lasting impression. Shiraishi fans are sure to get something out of this one, for me it was one of his weaker efforts.

Big nopes

White Eyes

Shirome
2010 / 83m - Japan
Horror
1.0*/5.0*
White Eyes poster

Shiraishi made a couple of proper horror films, sadly this one was poor and grating. The J-pop band is horrendous, the less is more approach doesn't work at all and the entire film just looks cheap and unfinished. A terrible fluke, but at least it's kind of short.