films seen
average score
Japan - 51 years old
Alive and kicking
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An exponent of modern Japanese horror cinema. Shimizu garnered broad recognition for his Ju-on franchise, but had some trouble traveling beyond his trademark series. When looking for decent horror though, his oeuvre is well worth delving into.


A wonderful collection of shorts, visually pleasing, fun to watch and from time to time refreshingly weird.

The Stranger from Afar

2004 / 92m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
The Stranger from Afar poster

One of those films that rose to fame as part of the Asian suspense wave washing over us a good two decades ago. But Shimizu's film never really fitted in with the rest of the movement. It's an outlier horror, mixing existing lore with fantastical elements and chasing feelings of discomfort and unease rather than scares and straight-up terror. I was pleasantly surprised by my rewatch, hadn't expected to like it just as much as the first time I watched it. This is one of Shimizu's absolute best.

Ju-on: The Grudge 2

Ju-on 2
2003 / 92m - Japan
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 poster

Ox-Head Village

2022 / 115m - Japan
Ox-Head Village poster

Better than Shimizu's previous "Village" films, though in the end, it suffers from similar defects. The investigation part takes up a tad too much time, which cranks up the runtime beyond the necessary. The horror bits are significantly better though and the production values are solid.

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When a ghost video reaches Kanon, she suddenly recognizes herself in one of the shots. The girl in the video disappears, which only scares her more. Together with a friend from school, she travels to the place where the video was shot. She isn't really prepared to face what she's about to learn about herself though.

Shimizu does well building up the tension, but once Kanon discovers what lies hidden in her past the film grinds to a halt and spends too much time on non-horror stuff. It picks up again in the end and the finale is pretty memorable, it just would've worked better as a more concise, 90-minute film.


2021 / 115m - Japan
Fantasy, Mystery
Homunculus poster

Takashi Shimizu's latest film is quite a bit different from his usual output. Best known for directing trademark Japanese horror films, Shimizu has been branching out in recent years. Homunculus is a clear step away from the horror genre, though where he ended up exactly isn't as easy to explain.

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Homunculus is a mystery with strong supernatural elements. Go Ayano plays Nokoshi, a strange man who is dead wealthy, but lives in his car and goes through life as a homeless person. One day he is approached by a medical student who wants to drill a hole in his skull. Nokoshi isn't interested, but the boy persuades him and before he knows it, he can see personifications of people's traumas.

Shimizu has a little trouble establishing the tone of Homunculus, and he spends a little too much time on the drama at the end. Other than that, this was pretty great. Pretty rad effects, an original plot, unpredictable until the very end and a great central performance. Don't go in expecting a typical Shimizu film, just sit down and enjoy what Shimizu throws at you.

Innocent Curse

Kodomo Tsukai
2017 / 111m - Japan
Fantasy, Horror
Innocent Curse poster

Shimizu is back with another horror flick. Don't expect scares or gore though, what the film lacks in genuine horror it makes up for with fantasy and drama elements. While set up like a classic Japanese horror film, Shimizu trades scares for mystique and mood. Not a bad film, just approach it with the right expectations.

Flight 7500

2014 / 97m - USA
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Flight 7500 poster

The Shock Labyrinth 3D

Senritsu Meikyû 3D
2009 / 89m - Japan
Horror, Thriller
The Shock Labyrinth 3D poster

Ju-on: The Grudge

2002 / 92m - Japan
Ju-on: The Grudge poster

Ju-on: The Curse

2000 / 70m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
Ju-on: The Curse poster


2023 / 109m - Japan
Sci-fi, Horror
Immersion poster

Takashi Shimizu's latest is a pleasant mix of horror and sci-fi. It harks back to the early J-Horrors (like Ringu and Pulse), but drops the less-is-more aesthetic and goes for a more polished feel. The result is a capable horror film, but one that fails to delight or surprise. I believe it's time for Shimizu to reinvent himself.

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A small company is trying to create a virtual reality paradise. They're based on a small island, which they are trying to recreate digitally. Tomohiko is a recruit who joins the team, replacing Ide. He quickly discovers that a ghost haunts the simulations and drowns people who dare to enter.

Immersion is not a bad film, updating some of the tropes and making it a bit more contemporary, while sticking with horror elements that are known to work. The problem is that it's all very much by the numbers, especially for people who've been watching these Japanese horrors for the past two decades. Decent filler, but nothing more.

Suicide Forest Village

Jukai Mura
2021 / 117m - Japan
Suicide Forest Village poster

Shimizu's recent films all suffer from the same thing: they are way too long. Suicide Forest Village is a pretty simple horror flock that shouldn't need to run past the 90-minute mark, but because the intro is excessively long and Shimizu wastes quite a bit of time on inconsequential drama, the film runs almost 120 minutes.

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Hibiki and Mei are sisters with a dark past. Mei has been able to leave that past behind, Hibiki turned out to be an introverted girl who has trouble adapting to the world around her. When she finds an odd box below their house, connected to Fuji's suicide forest, strange things start to happen to Hibiki and her friends.

The finale is pretty spectacular, a fine mix of horror and fantasy elements, it just takes a long time before it actually starts. Performances are decent, and the setting is very atmospheric. Sadly, the drama is rather bland, and the first 90 minutes are pretty by the numbers. Shimizu can do better, if only he could bring his films back to 90 minutes.

Rabbit Horror 3D

Rabitto Horâ 3D
2011 / 83m - Japan
Rabbit Horror 3D poster


2005 / 96m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
Reincarnation poster

Classic J-Horror by one of the most prominent directors in the genre. Shimizu made a name for himself with the Ju-On series, but he's made quite a few horror films besides that. Reincarnation is one of the films that followed after the immense success of Ju-On. While I was pretty taken with it when I first watched it, the film's effect has diluted quite a bit over the past 20 years.

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A young actress is having trouble getting her first big break. She finally lands a part in a horror film, not something she's dreamed of, but it's an opportunity. The film is based on an actual murder and it doesn't take long before strange things start happening on set. Even so, the show must go on.

The build-up is slow and deliberate, there aren't too many scares, instead, Shimizu goes for a more otherworldly atmosphere. The final 20 minutes crank up the dread and there are some pretty memorable scenes there (thanks to a nicely designed doll), but overall it's a bit too slow and generic. Not half as creepy as I remembered it to be.

Dark Tales of Japan

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

Howling Village

Inunaki Mura
2019 / 108m - Japan
Howling Village poster

Takashi Shimizu is returning to his roots with this film. Howling Village is a Japanese horror that could've easily been released 20 years ago. A horror film steeped in historic trauma, with ghostly apparitions reaching out from the realm of the dead to pester the living. For diehards only.

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Inunaki Village is a ghost town, hidden deep inside the Japanese forests. When two kids go there to shoot a horror video, they are attacked by spirits. They get out alive, but Akina doesn't come out unscathed and not long after she commits suicide. Kaena, the sister of Akina's boyfriend, decides to investigate.

The film has its moments, but Shimizu messes up the balance between narrative and horror. There's simply too much backstory to wade through and since it's all so predictable, it slows down the film unnecessarily. The haunts aren't particularly scary either and though the second half is definitely better than the first one, this is hardly a standout film in Shimizu's oeuvre. Basic filler.

Kiki's Delivery Service

Majo no Takkyûbin
2014 / 108m - Japan
Comedy, Fantasy, Adventure
Kiki's Delivery Service poster

Ju-on: The Curse 2

Ju-on 2
2000 / 76m - Japan
Horror, Mystery
Ju-on: The Curse 2 poster

The Grudge

2004 / 91m - USA
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
The Grudge poster

Tomie: Re-birth

2001 / 101m - Japan
Tomie: Re-birth poster

The Grudge 2

2006 / 102m - USA
Horror, Thriller
The Grudge 2 poster