Monday, 25 February 2013

Keitai Kareshi (Cell Phone Boyfriend)

Okay so to start of this post; Hi! I am Chiima, a fan of Idols and a self-proclaimed Wota who is also a Media student, though despite that, I don't watch films... or at least not as much as I should. However, I do enjoy watching Japanese films, more so the ones that have Idols in them.

At one point, I wanted to review a movie on my blog, however I felt that at the time, my blog was there for Idol happiness and nothing more, so I never posted that review and eventually deleted it despite how much I enjoyed and wanted to praise the film. A year or more later, still thinking about that deleted post and how I wished I have fully reviewed it and posted the piece, I am here on a different blog, one which I hope to fully dedicate to Japanese movies. More specifically, Japanese horror movies... or whatever the Japanese class as horrors.
 Why horror? Well, it seems to be a popular genre for Idols to go into in terms of movies. That, and I'm not a horror fanatic, but from what I have seen already, some/most of Japanese horrors are pretty tame, and I also wanted to try and review movies because there is a part of me that wants to be a movie critic... doubt I will become one though. Also, reviewing is fun!

Anyway, enough introductions, let's get into the first movie review, and weirdly enough, it's the original to the movie that I had originally reviewed on my other blog...

Keitai Kareshi (携帯彼氏)


High school student Ayumi kills herself and leaves behind a cryptic message that says “will be killed by boyfriend.” Ayumi’s classmates Satomi (Umika Kawashima) and Yuka (Aki Asakura) investigate her suicide and quickly links her death to a cellphone dating simulation game called “Keitai Kareshi.”...

WARNING! SPOILERS AND PICTURES AND OPINIONS AHEAD, JUMP AT YOUR OWN RISK! OH MY!



So before I get into the post, I want to note how I find it quite intriguing that Japan has a fascination with cell phone related stories; most that I have seen (actually the very few that I have seen) in both drama and horror terms have mostly revolved around cell phones/mobiles, something which is quite exclusive to Japan, and a pretty cool concept too... well, at least to me it is. Why? Because it's technology, and seriously, isn't it scary to think that something like your own phone could kill you? We use technology everyday, we can't live without it... and it could kill you.

Awesome. Okay, let's actually get into this review...


Keitai Kareshi (Cell phone Boyfriend) is pretty much what the title and synopsis says it is... it's a story about a cell phone boyfriend game that can kill you if you raise the Love gauge to 100, or let it drop to 0. Either way, you are dead unless you figure out another way to get rid of your hunky pixelated murderer boyfriend, because honey, deleting the files won't help you out either.

Oh wait I just totally spoilt it, and I am nowhere near done! Oh well~

So the start of the story; we get a nice little introduction to what Keitai Kareshi is technically all about by showing us viewers the game itself and a girl creating her character, which changes magically from an animated pixel to a piexelated man, one who looks  like he could be a part of Arashi...

How dashing!

After that, we get our introduction to the two main characters, Satomi and Yuka. Satomi seems to be one of those rarity's in the fact that she isn't as tech savvy as her best friend is, whilst Yuka is a very girly and typically boy-crazy best friend character who seems to make Satomi more bearable as a person and ultimately a lot more likeable. Then again, we always need some gullible airhead in these 'horror' films. It makes me feel a lot less dumb and a little bit smarter, actually, though that's not the point! She's basically there for moral support and to make our main character, Satomi in this case, a lot more likeable because she is tolerable and less annoying.

Other than that, Satomi is actually quite a bland character, almost devoid of character, actually.

Anyway, once the introductions are all over, we get this pleasant scene of happiness...

Bye Bye, random friend!
Ahem... Remember that call, Yuka? The one you waved off from your friend? Yeah, she's dead now. Let me watch you hang your head in shame...


So we get our first death and the full introduction to the movie and what it's all about, and really, that's pretty much it; Lose points, lose your life. Gain points, lose your life still. Now, I do like the concept, despite how sarcastic I may seem about it right now; it's just the movie. When I watched the second film, Keitai Kanojo, I was a lot more impressed and enjoyed it greatly, but this one really didn't appeal to me...

Well, that was until the second half... well the final 45 minutes, actually, which disappointed me greatly if I have to be honest with you.


The first hour or so of the film (take not, the film is about an hour and 40 minutes long) was more like build up and back story more than anything; yes there are a few death scenes here and there, but nothing that is really thrilling or horrific, and nothing which actually had my heart racing. Now, as someone who does not watch horror movies for the reason that I am a complete and utter scaredy cat, I was utterly disappointed that this film relied on nothing but cheap little death scenes and a phone sending itself back to Yuka's mail box after she threw it away to scare me and make me think this was a scary thing for the girls, because seriously, I was not scared; in fact I just sat  there, wondering when Umika would gain a character and when I would gasp and cry in slight terror.

It didn't happen, though I did find something funny;


Seriously, when those guys laugh after killing someone, I'm laughing myself. This had to be a giant highlight of the film after waiting for something good to happen in the first 20-30 minutes of the film...


Oh, and we also got some nice little flashback scenes concerning Satomi's ever-growing character depth; she had a crush on her senior who, prior to where we start in the film, is actually dead thanks to a fire that killed a girl and her rapists. Now this does serve as one of the major plots to the movie, but we don't find out how/why until later into the film. This footage is used as mostly back-up to try and delve into Satomi's ever budding personality.

Actually, I am a sucker for romance, and it was nice to see Umika's character smile genuinely in these scenes. It was cute, but it didn't make up for her lack of character concept.


Anyway, I stuck around, mostly because I enjoyed the concept and wanted to see how the actual movie would wrap itself up. Luckily it got a lot better the more it went on, and I especially liked the scenes that showed the 'boyfriends' in the windows or mirrors as they killed off their innocent and unaware girlfriends.

Oh my, is that jacket for sale?

Also, is it just me, or do these guys look more creepy than handsome/cute/adorable in their phone forms? Even when they aren't laughing, they look... weird.

So after that ordeal where a boyfriend from a phone pushed his girlfriend into the road and in front of an oncoming car, Satomi tries to save an extremely paranoid Yuka from her 'boyfriend' who's love points are rapidly decreasing. At this point Yuka is actually at breaking point and I start to feel for the girl; she looks pretty damn crazy and you know that everyone thinks that as well, because her boyfriend is threatening her and asking her to kill herself for him. Hell, she even broke her phone to get away from him, only to possess a new one that Satomi bought her. This leads to Satomi transferring Yuka's boyfriend over to her old managers phone, something which I actually cheered her on for, because y'know, that manager was a bitch.


Again, I cheered her on; yeah she feels guilty, but I sure don't.

The moment when you realise your own mother is that desperate for a man

So after transferring the files over to her manager, Satomi and Yuka fret about the boyfriend, only to find out that Satomi's own mother (total MILF by the way) also has the game Keitai Kareshi, and has neglected her pixel lover due to a busy lifestyle. This of course freaks out the two girls because Satomi's mother is on 1%, and then drops down to 0%.
 Now when this scene came up I really felt like, finally, the movie was moving somewhere and making use of the cool concept it had. Actually, I was really anticipating how Satomi's mother would die, only for it to totally mislead me (actually it didn't, but hey, I actually felt suspense!) and let her live. Turns out, not all the Kareshi's want to kill you.

Just some of them.

So after that incident, and a sense of false security, the girls feel like the curse isn't real and that the deaths that have occurred are simply a coincidence, only for Umika to find out that her former manager has died.

MURDERER!!!

Well shit...

Patronising bitch

So Satomi does the only thing she can think of (and has yet to tell Yuka that the Manager died because of the boyfriend) and goes to the police, only to be seen as crazy and to basically be patronised by the female officer who I had at first thought was a nice lady. Yeah well I hate her now, you know?

Of course, thanks to transferring the boyfriend from Manager's phone to the female officers (men can't do it, actually, which is pretty much expected I guess) she plays the game for 'research' purposes, and gets to 100 points.

Guess what?


Boom!

And you know what else? The suspense has finally kicked in here, and I'm finally enjoying myself after nearly an hour of footage and 40 minutes or less left. Yay!!!

Of course because of the incident, and the male officer fully witnessing the 100% heart gauge, the death of his fellow officer and realising that the rape/fire case has the profile of one of the rapists on his fellow officers phone, he calls up Satomi and tells her about the fire and what really happened.


Now this flashback was really emotional when I watched it; you don't see anything other than the girl walk in and the guys taunt her before she douses herself in gasoline, and honestly I was so sad during this entire scene. The girl looked so dejected and sad, and I really felt for her. I actually wanted to cry, so props to the girl who played as the poor thing who was hurt by this bastards.

Again, emotional, though her hair looks as fake as Miyabi's wig in Gomennasai.


So after a heart wrenching scene, the suspense picks up as Yuka messages Satomi that she has another boyfriend through the game. This is a damn predictable move because during her paranoid state I wondered if she would play the game again, and she did, only for her lover to be another one of the guys who will readily kill her, though this time it actually got a bit freakier and more intense...

The guy blocked Satomi's calls! I did not expect that util a moment before it happened, and I actually thought that it was well done; it was creepy how the strength of the Kareshi managed to become something that could communicate outside of text and block Satomi off from saving her friend. It was as if the desire to kill Yuka, who had managed to escape death once already, was stronger and a lot more prominent, and yes, I was thrilled by it. I was in suspense at that point, believe me.


Of course the most intense moment of the entire film was actually Yuka's struggle to survive; throughout it Yuka tries her hardest to escape her Kareshi after finding a text from Satomi that they're still killing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it; through the scenes where she was struggling to survive we also see Satomi trying her hardest to kill off the Kareshi's for good by deleting the entire game, and nearly dieing in the process, but honestly those scenes weren't as good as Yuka's.

Seriously, the best friend, the one who can annoy you, turns out to be the massive highlight of this film because her struggle is amazing and just so very epic.


Actually, I guess that Umika's scenes are moderately interest; in fact she manages to communicate with her dead senpai through this, who was also a part of the Kareshi game and managed to help Satomi through the process of deleting the files, which lead to all the files being deleted after a struggle and a nice set of edits that cut to and from Satomi's duller job to the epic scenes where Yuka is struggling for her own dear life.

Anyway, Satomi reigns supreme and manages to delete all the files of the killers, meaning that she has saved Yuka, which she does.

For like, a minute.

He's behind yoooooou~

... Fuck.

I was actually gripping the laptop by this point, because Yuka had technically escaped death twice before the entity of the Kareshi returned to try and kill her again, though admittedly this had to be the best bit. I actually did not expect this, and I was lead into that sense of false security for a minute or two before we were back to watching Yuka fight for her death. It was very suspenseful, because Satomi also had to find out what was wrong, only to realise that the game would go on until she had deleted one last file...


... Ah shit, we forgot to delete you!? Damnit!


So after another delete session and some crappy CGI effects later (which actually killed the epic feel of the movie for me, I am not going to lie... and it gets worse) we see Satomi nearly get crushed by a steel shelf full of junk and metal, only to be saved by...

-face palm- Thanks... Thanks, directors, producers and script writers. Thank you for ruining this movie for me. Thanks!

Yes, the ghost of her senpai, the man she loved and believed to be a rapist (he wasn't; he was just in the same building and died trying to save people from the fire) had saved her. Note; the game files are all deleted, meaning he has been deleted too, and he should be a ghost too. But yeah, he saved her.

Oh for fucks sake...

Of course nothing takes the cheese more than this fucking scene does. I literally face palmed and cringed when I saw it; no, movie, NO!!!! This is NOT a damn shoujo thing! NO!

Necropheeeeeelia~!

... Then they proclaim their love for each other, despite the fact that, hey, Senpai's DEAD!!!

... I am seriously starting to believe that Satomi is crazy.


And as devoid of character as ever, Satomi expresses her love for Senpai with emotion that is on par with Maeda Atsuko and Kristen Stewart. Nice.

Hold that thought girls...

And Happy Endings abound!!!

Or is it...?

"This is my blowjob face, bitches!"
Keitai Kanojo...
This pretty much calls for a sequel, right? Well luckily enough there is one, though that one stars Suzuki Airi, thank fuck.

Okay so yeah, that's the movie in as much of a nutshell as I can put it in. Keitai Kareshi, or Cell Phone Boyfriend, is a movie which is supposed to be a Horror/Suspense film for teens with a hint of bittersweet romance thrown in there. The verdict?

Conclusion: Okay at best

To be honest this movie is, at best, okay. It doesn't really rank highly for me, especially when I liked so Keitai Kanojo a lot more. There are aspects of it which I enjoyed, and that was mostly to do with Yuka and her struggle to live as well as her crazy spell she had earlier on in the movie, as well as the superb acting from all the characters. The movie seemed quite believable and I thought that everyone played out their characters nicely, but other than that it's... it's fine.

When it comes to the movie I feel like, other than good characters and great scenes with Yuka in them, there could have been more script wise and a better character for Satomi; Satomi as a main character was devoid of personality and I feel like she really lacked to the point where I just did not care for her and hoped she would die in the end of it as some sort of nice little twist. In fact the only time I liked her was when she showed that sadistic side of herself where she decided to off the manager in favour of her best friend despite her better judgement and what might come later (you know she regrets it). Umika did a great job acting as Satomi, but her character was so boring and dead in spirit that I felt like she should have just been there as a token rather than a heroine.

I also feel like the movie itself was too predictable, especially the ending that points to a sequel and the amount of cheese thrown in there to appease tweens and romance lovers. It felt so forced into the movie and ruined the effect of a rather wonderfully directed and shot scene where Yuka was trying to survive, and tainted the entire movie for me thereafter. It felt like a cheap shot, a chance to make the movie longer than it needed to be, and just left a bad taste in my mouth.

All in all, this movie is fine. It might satisfy a younger, more teen based audience who can tolerate tacky love scenes between a ghost and a boring girl who is possibly crazy (by the way, not a fan of the supernatural ghosts coming back for loved ones to proclaim love and all that shite...) but for me, it just left me wishing that Satomi had died and Yuka was left, surviving the incident but forever mentally scarred. However twisted that seems, it would be a far more fitting ending, especially when the beginning of this film lacked so epically, only to become better and then fall down again thanks to the ending scene. I seriously hate it, as you can guess, but I still think that this film is Okay at best. Why? Because this is not horror, and it's less than suspenseful until nearer the end... however if you can stick through it for that long and not care about Umika's bland character or the amount of flashbacks, then go ahead and enjoy!

Keitai Kareshi... it didn't scare me into hating my mobile phone or wanting to change it. However, it has made me interested in dating simulation games. You never know, one of those guys might try to kill me.

Chiima

2 comments:

  1. I loved your review, especially the Patronizing bitch part XD I liked the female officer at first and then she had to go and ruin it. Oh well, I also thought the romance with Senpai at the end was a total cheese fest, I kind of expected Satomi to at least get injured or something from the metal shelf...The parts with Yuka she so looked dead in that Bathtub, I was gonna cry like "Well that sucks now your best friend is dead and you have to go on living your life with all these thoughts and sadness." Anyway I actually thought this movie wasn't too bad, I have yet to see Keitai Kanojo so I am reserving my full judgement until then.

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