Nightmare Detective 2 (2008, Shinya Tsukamoto)

As the title character in childhood flashback sits for minutes at a time on the floor while his mom quietly cooks hamburgers I’m thinking that Tsukamoto is punishing the people (fans? studio?) who insisted on a sequel to the great Nightmare Detective. I didn’t ask for this, just enjoyed the first one and trusted the director enough to watch another, but he gave me some bullshit, reminiscent of Noriko’s Dinner Table following Suicide Circle (fortunately not quite that bad).

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Seems like horror series usually save the long, unnecessary backstory scenes for part three (or for the remake, in Halloween‘s case), but we’re gonna explore the ND’s troubled past right here in part two, making a third movie unnecessary. His mom was psychic, became afraid of everything and everybody including her own son, and finally hung herself. ND can hear thoughts as well, but he’s less afraid than perpetually miserable. Somehow that two-sentence backstory takes up half the screen time, mostly through ND’s dream sequences which don’t do much to build atmosphere or further character development, but just begin to hang around and repeat themselves.

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Meanwhile some high-school girls (led by Yukie) terrify another girl Kikukawa (Hanae Kan, a star at 11 in Pistol Opera then the unrelated “family member” in Nobody Knows) who proceeds to haunt them Elm Street style. ND is interested because Kikukawa has the same fear issues as his late mother, gets belatedly involved after the deaths of two girls.

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At least Shinya’s got enough energy and interest to pull off a mysterious dream-murder scene among all the boredom and backstory. Yukie and friend Mutsumi nod off in class and dream a restroom in the gymnasium. K. appears, face hidden, walks backwards towards them and tosses a glass of water into Mutsumi’s face. Y. awakens, sees M.’s head has fallen through her school desk. Shades of Elm St. 4 minus the fumbled inhaler and sucking-face joke.

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Same video look but little of the epilepsy camerawork of the action scenes in part 1. Some cool imagery near the end, especially the N.D. stepping through Yukie’s body, dropping it like a rubber suit (which in fact it is), entering her dream to confront the out-of-control Kikukawa.

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