It's time for another review! I'm currently in the Idol-Horror spirit right now, and after finding a pretty cool site that hosts subbed J-Horror movies, I decided to watch one of the few listed that I had wanted to see for a while, mostly because it stars Oshima Yuko. I like her acting, so I wanted to see her in the horror.
That, and after researching Japanese Urban Legends way back when, I liked the idea of the movie TekeTeke. So you can kind of guess which one I will be reviewing tonight.
Yuko Oshima stars as Kana, a schoolgirl whose normal life is turned upside-down when her best friend is found brutally murdered, having been cut completely in half at the waist. Soon, Kana hears about the urban legend of "Teke Teke," the ghost of a legless woman who was found dismembered years ago and now haunts the railway station. If you see her, in three days you will be killed. In a race against time, Kana must search for the truth in order to escape the horrific fate that awaits her.WARNING! SPOILERS AND PICTURES AND OPINIONS AHEAD, JUMP AT YOUR OWN RISK OR FOREVER ROLL AROUND IN YOUR REGRETS!
So to start off the post, Teke Teke is both a Japanese urban legend and a Japanese onomatopoeia that describes the sound of a person or animal running or scurrying. The urban legend describes Teke Teke as a vengeful female spirit who was killed on the railway tracks and cut clean in half and kills those who see her if they are not fast enough to run away, and mimics her own death by cutting them clean in half.
The movie, however, shows a slight variation of the story, though it pretty much keeps to the same element of how Teke Teke as a demon works, though I doubt it has anything to do with revenge or being bitter here; she just wants you dead.
The film of TekeTeke opens pretty decently in my opinion, and pretty much lets you in on what the rest of the movie will be about; we meet a woman who is on her way home from work, tired and quite disgruntled, after a less than peaceful bus ride with a bunch of loud and playful children talking about TekeTeke behind her. After that we see her walking along the train overpass, where she hears a sound and begins to run away. This goes on for a good 5 or so minutes, however I fully appreciate the build up; I was actually in suspense, especially when Teke Teke decided to play around with her toy a bit and lure her into a false sense of security.
Of course our woman ends up dead after being lured out from hiding, and she is cut clean in half. Now that's an opening, and it nicely introduced what Teke Teke is capable of.
This looks very 80's horror, don't you think?
Anyway, after a pretty good opening, we are introduced to our leading lady Kana, played by Oshima Yuko of AKB48 fame, and her best friend Ayaka who seems to be pretty dependant on her best friend when it comes to having stuff done for her. The two are best friends though, and Kana asks out a boy for her friend.
Spoiler: HE LIKES KANA This leads to a double date where Kana tags along because Ayaka asks her, only for Ayaka to see that what's-his-name possibly, most likely, definitely prefers Kana. There is also a brief discussion about the urban legend known as TekeTeke that Kana never knew about which introduces us to Teke Teke a bit more.
I would like to note that this isn't revealed or even proven in the film, but it's blatantly obvious by how he answers Kana that he's only dating her friend because she asked him, and usually in J-Drama's that means the guy does it because he likes the girl and does not want to, you know, deny her of anything. Oh, and he also asks her out again a little bit later on in the film (not so late, though).
So after the date ends, Kana and Ayaka walk off home together, only for Ayaka to interrogate her best friend about the boy and Kana, throwing a hissy fit and then walking off in another direction because she feels like Kana treats her as if she's an idiot (which she is I guess, because she's blaming Kana for getting along with someone who has no interest in Ayaka) and goes towards, would you guess, the train overpass. Fun times ahead, guys!
As you can guess, Ayaka meets Teke Teke after hearing some strange scurrying noises in the background. Isn't it beautiful?
Of course Ayaka trips and falls as she attempts to run away, which ultimately results in this:
After that, the whole school is talking about Ayaka's murder and Kana has what seems to be a bit of a break down before going to talk to the police and goes home. She then goes back out and meets up with that guy (whatever his name is) and he comforts her and basically talks about Ayaka and her, which results in many tears being shed and one of the most awkward crying scenes I have seen in a movie, though nothing beats Ceres Celestial Legend's crying scene with Yuhi after Chidori... yeah...
After many manly tears have been shed in this awkward scene, that guy attempts to ask out Kana only to be rejected by her (douche, her friend who liked you just died... be a bit more considerate, kay?) and she walks home. Guess what? It's dark again, and Kana decides to place flowers on the spot where Ayaka was killed.
|Honey, I'm home!!!|
Luckily enough Kana actually seems to be smart, and ignores Teke Teke. I was mentally cheering at this point, though when she got up to leave I really did not expect this to happen; Teke Teke mimics the voice of Ayaka and tricks Kana into turning around by calling out her name, meaning that Kana has seen Teke Teke and is about to die.
Of course Kana does the sensible thing and runs like fuck, bumping into what's his name once again and hitching a ride with him. Of course Teke Teke quickly follows, and by quick I do mean quickly, whilst Kana panics and the guy who likes her wonders what the hell is going on.
Eventually they fall over which ultimately results in the boy breaking his leg (First you turn me down and then break my leg!? You bitch!) and Teke Teke to mysteriously disappear, something which is explained a little later on and seems pretty obvious after you've watched the movie and seen this scene again. Anyway, after a cosy little hospital scene where Kana apologises to the boy we never see him again.
I'm not kidding. He never returns, which I do question but whatever.
After that we find Kana in the library, researching Teke Teke before her cousin intersects. The two leave, and we find out that Kana's cousin has been researching Teke Teke for her class and is also looking into the murder cases a little. This leads Kana to basically say that she has met Teke Teke, and according to legend, will die within three days because she managed to escape. Of course this worries her cousin, who actually believes her and does not think that she's crazy.
After that both Kana and her cousin go to investigate, interrogate some old woman about what has happened and leave, pretty much unsatisfied though now they have some vital knowledge; Teke Teke hated red when she was alive and threw anything red out of the window, though the information at first seems a bit useless. They get a bit more information out of an assistant from a professor (he's extremely awkward and twitchy, but pretty cute I guess) and he helps the girls to find out a bit more concerning the case, and tells them about a memorial that collapsed that is Teke Teke's, leading them both to believe that in order to get rid of Teke Teke, they need to restore it.
Also; I ship awkward guy and Kana's cousin. Yay, shipping!
We then find out why Kana's dear cousin is so intent on finding the memorial because she has also seen Teke Teke. After hearing what Kana said, she decided to investigate. My goodness girl, didn't you know that curiosity killed the cat!? Anyway, they drive to where the memorial is supposed to be, realise that they mistook the place, and then frantically try to find where it really is only to come to a cross roads. Luckily Awkward guy manages to tell them where to go, and we head into a forest.
There's a bit of searching around as time slowly runs out, and the two eventually find the memorial with Teke Teke's real name etched into the stone; Kashiwa Eriko. What a pretty name! Of course time is not on their side, and the girls struggle to lift the memorial as their best friend in the whole wide world comes to get them.
Pretty! I do love the first-person perspective here.
Of course, like most films, the girls erect the memorial once again (pervert, I know what you're thinking!) and realise that it is past eight in the evening. Relieved, they go back to the car and are ready to go home, content in the fact that they're safe.
And they are. For now, at least.
Ah shit... She's behind you!
... I was actually surprised that I managed to spot her quite quickly, but it was quite funny because everything else was so peaceful.
So, despite putting the memorial back up, Teke Teke is still after them, and Kana realises why it is; Teke Teke hates the colour red, and all the people that she has killed have had something red on them at the time she saw them. Knowing this, and knowing that the car and what her cousin is wearing has red on it, Teke Teke still follows them madly as they try to get away. The girls escape the car after Teke Teke crashes into it, and Kana instructs her cousin to rid herself of all her red garments to which she does exactly that. They then run into a forest and are split up.
Of course Teke Teke follows Kana, however is ready to go until Kana's blasted phone rings, and guess what? It's red. Shit. Teke Teke is ready to launch, only for Kana to scream and throw her phone at Teke Teke, which proves to be a good thing, because Teke Teke disappears. And this is why Teke Teke left when Kana fell off the bike; the phone basically made a barrier for her, that and it was out of her possession, so ultimately that damned phone has saved her twice! Too bad she forgets it afterwards.
That's how much she hates red, guys! So throw a red pen at her, or at least carry one to throw at her when you go to the railway tracks at night.
After that it seems like Teke Teke is good and gone, so Kana and her cousin reunite, glad to see that they are safe. As our dear cousin comes along to Kana, though, she cuts her forehead on a branch...
Okay, you all know where this is going, right? Hell, even the cousin knows where it is going!
Third and final death guys! So poor Kana watches as her cousin is quickly cut in half before her very eyes, and of course screams.
And then Teke Teke launches herself towards Kana, ultimately ending the movie. Or does it...?
Sticking around after the credits (because I noticed that there was a good amount of time left that was far too long for credits) we fast forward to a year later. Kana and her mother have moved house after the incident where Kana watched her cousin die, and has become a shell of herself. We find this out because Awkward guy has come to visit after hearing that they live in the area, and tries to speak to Kana, only to be ignored. Kana does not go outside, and seems to be a shut in.
Then, before the movie ends, we see Awkward man try to give Kana a gift, because he is a sweetie, only for this to happen...
Kana literally freaks out. The box that the gift is in is red and after seeing it, Kana goes into a fit and starts throwing things as she screams. This was a surprising turn of events, but for me it was also a very welcoming one, and I quite enjoyed this moment of Kana being crazy and devoid of the character she wants was. It was amazing, and for me, an amazing ending to a film.
Actually, I think that all horrors should have pretty twisted endings, or at least endings that aren't happy, because it's a horror; happiness does not exist in that world. Or at least it doesn't for me. Anyway, the ending pleased me a great deal because it ended a lot better than I expected it to... to be honest, I actually expected her to walk away scott free and dating that guy from the hospital, but nope. We get a good ending!!!
So, the verdict?
Conclusion: Pretty Good
Admittedly I went into this movie expecting a little bit more in terms of death, however what we are given is pretty good I think. I liked the storyline and I enjoyed the acting greatly, and both the opening and endings of the film were better than I had expected, especially the ending. Whilst the film isn't as horrific as I had hoped it would be, and the suspense was a little non-existent after the beginning, I did thoroughly enjoy the film.
The film does have little problems that I don't like, mostly the fact that it lacks in deaths and relies heavily on suspense and the plot to take you somewhere, and whilst the middle of the story did feel empty, I do think that the final scenes made up for it; I liked that Kana's cousin died and that Teke Teke basically changed Kana as a person and made her into what Teke Teke used to be like when alive; a paranoid, red-hating wreck. It was a fantastic twist and I did not expect it, but I greatly appreciated it because it felt like it was how everything should have ended, and it didn't leave me hanging either. Whilst Keitai Kareshi disappointed me in terms of ending (and opening, actually), Teke Teke greatly satisfied me and I enjoyed watching it.
Would I watch it again? Probably not, but if I did it would be to go back to Oshima Yuko's acting, because she is really good at it. The only time I cringed was when she was crying because it was so contrived and over the top, but other than that, I probably would not watch this film again. There are too little death scenes and whilst the script was good and the reason for Teke Teke killing was decent (red), I think that the film needed more behind it and a few more killing spree's before the protagonist became a mental wreck.
It's pretty good as I said, and I think that Teke Teke is quitea good film for non-horror fans to watch because of how little goes on, but for hardcore horror fanatics you might want to pass; it's nice and all, but there isn't enough blood and gore and too much tail-chasing for its own good.
Teke Teke... I'm actually a little scared to go on the train tracks now.