It Comes (‘Kuru’ in Japanese) is a horror flick from Japan based on an original novel of the same name, directed by Tetsuya Nakashima who’s known as a “narrative maximalist” with a habit of shoving visceral shocks into his films. Starring Satoshi Tsumabuki and Junichi Okada, It Comes is Nakashima’s first foray into the horror genre.
The plot mainly follows Hideki (Tsumabuki) who marries his wife Kana (Haru Kuroki), and they eventually have a daughter, Chisa. Unbeknownst to everyone, Hideki has a standing order with “Bogiwan” – their version of the bogeyman – which was supposed to have taken him as a child, but it isn’t until his daughter Chisa was born that the spirit returns, this time for her. Weird things keep happening – amulets get torn, people get mysteriously slashed – which prompts Hideki to seek help from exorcists.
The movie feels like multiple films all crammed into one – some are confusing, or don’t seem to fit in the correct timeline, thanks to the director’s habit of non-linear storytelling. The only thread that links every character is their assortment of sordid pasts.
A word of caution: if you’re here to look for a plot, don’t bother. Even though the movie centres on Hideki, it totally shifts focus to another couple – ex-journalist Nozaki (Junichi Okada) and his hostess girlfriend Makoto (Nana Komatsu) – halfway through. And just when you think the malevolent spirit will kill one person, someone else unrelated dies instead. By the end, after all that lavish ceremony, you are left wondering if the spirit was exorcised or not.
Having said that, the movie still manages to keep you engaged throughout its entire run, as you try – unsuccessfully – to unravel the film’s mystery. Interestingly, the plot also reveals the truth behind Hideki’s reputation as the ‘perfect dad’ by friends and fans of his blog, in which he documents the life of his daughter. The truth is not so pretty – in his quest to be ‘perfect’ he neglects his wife’s struggles (postpartum depression), and doesn’t attend to his daughter’s diaper changes or injuries, preferring instead to simply blog about it to inflate his own ego.
Normally, J-Horror often has a much slower build-up and less jump scares or visceral visuals than its Hollywood cousin, but Nakashima’s directorial style certainly veers the movie into more of a Hollywood gore genre, filled with gruesome scenes requiring buckets of blood. Perhaps the one thing to take away from the film is that it focuses pretty heavily on the idea of ‘children’ – from the guilt of abortion to child neglect from the perspective of Chisa herself.
The whole movie can be summed up by what Nozaki, who miraculously survives a high fall from an apartment complex, tells Makoto: “Weird”.
“It Comes” opens in Singapore on March 14, 2019.