If you look up Japanese serial killers on Wiki there’s a paltry list of just 13 of them, considering the population you would have expected a lot more. Compared to the likes of the USA and indeed the UK, Japan fades into near insignificance although the fascination with them is certainly well represented looking through my film collection from the country and other Oriental places. As mentioned in Creepy itself they can pretty much spring up anywhere and environment and geography is not something that really plays that much a part. One of the most infamous serial murderers in Japan is undoubtedly Futoshi Matsunaga and it wasn’t that long ago that I read more into his nefarious exploits after stumbling across Sion Sono’s excellent 2010 film Cold Fish. I kind of went into seeing Creepy with similar expectations and indeed you can see many parallels between both the fiction within Sono’s film and fact itself on watching it. Written by Yutaka Maekawa and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (whose select features include Pulse 2001 & Tokyo Sonata 2008) Creepy lives up to its name by nature itself and leaves you completely engrossed and somewhat appalled through its 130 minute duration.


We are introduced to detective Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) as he interrogates a captured killer but his career and life are just about to get well and truly forked over in a fashion that provides an early on jolt in the movie. Taking retirement he sensibly decides to take up lecturing about what he knows best at a university and how cool is it having serial killers on your syllabus? This means he and wife Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi) have to move to a new prefecture where on introducing themselves to neighbours they find behaviour somewhat odd especially with that of Mr Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa) a character they somewhat politely describe as having little in the way of social skills.


Getting into his work Takakura is inspired by a colleague to get embroiled in a mysterious cold case based around a family who simply up and disappeared one night under very strange circumstances leaving their daughter Saki (Haruna Kawaguchi) alone. Saki has proven an unreliable witness but along with a former colleague in the force who discovers Takakura is sleuthing around is drawn into looking into exactly what happened. Life at home is getting a little bit odder and we discover that Nishino has a very polite but somewhat troubled school age daughter and a wife who is described as being seriously ill. Bodies eventually start popping up and mysterious threads between Takakura’s domestic circumstances and the old case are unveiled. The former detective’s wife is also acting oddly and seems to be unexpectedly drawn to some sort of sinister relationship with her sociopathic neighbour, what on earth is going on?


Saying anything more would be impossible really but this is a film that slowly draws you in to its cosmos and gets you hook, line and sinker by the midway point leaving you right on the edge of your seat. Offering clues all the way Creepy skilfully lures you in allowing a smug sense of security when you think you have it completely sussed, but have you really? Psychologists would have a field day with this one as a key element (as with Cold Fish) is manipulation and what it says about freedom of the will is also a very interesting point to dwell on long after it has finished.  Since seeing Creepy a couple of days ago it has somewhat haunted my thoughts and I have a feeling it is going to do so for some time to come. Acting, cinematography and the palpable tension behind the film are all exemplary and certainly all combine together to make Creepy a riveting experience. Catch it at selected cinemas and on digital HD from 25th November. I will certainly be picking this one up on Blu-Ray on release myself.

(Pete Woods)