Premonition (UK Rating: 18)'Tis the season to be scared witless, tra la la la la…ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Yes, it's that confusing time of year where Halloween and Christmas compete for the interest of the masses. For those that are embracing the darker holiday, this is the perfect time to enjoy some scary movies. There is a huge list out there and Cubed3 would like to introduce you to some that you may not have heard of - horror from the East. Japanese and Korean horror have a very different style to the West and many fans seem to have not heard of any outside The Ring, The Grudge or Dark Water. Cubed3's first foray here is Premonition, part of the J-Horror collection, and available to buy now from Tartan Asia Extreme.
There are plenty of stories out there that are clearly developed just off the back of a promising premise, and this is definitely one of them. The story is actually an adaptation of a manga series from the '70s by Tsunoda Jiro, although it's considerably different to the source material. The original manga followed Kagata Mei, a high school student who suffers from a curse. The titular "fear newspaper" shows him horrific events yet to occur, and Kagata must try to stop the events from happening or have his life shortened each time he fails to do so.
This adaptation keeps the "fear newspaper" and the premise of trying to stop the traumatic events that it predicts, but has a completely different story. Ayaka and Hideki Satomi are travelling home with their young daughter, Nana, from a trip to the grandparents' house when Hideki's obsession with his work causes an unplanned detour that leads Hideki to the dreaded newspaper. The newspaper has an article on a truck crashing into a parked car and killing a little girl. The girl in the picture is his Nana. The article shows the accident happened at 8pm… Hideki looks at his watch and… well, it's easy to guess what happens next.
Jumping to three years later, Ayaka and Hideki have gotten divorced, yet the events of that night are still very close to them both. Araka is working with a famed psychic, looking into the supernatural and hoping she can unearth the truth about the paper. Meanwhile, the paper is still appearing to Hideki and it leads him on a mission to find others who have seen it and to establish the truth behind the premonitions in its pages, and see if they can be stopped.
While part of the J-Horror collection, the film is relatively tame on the scares, feeling more like a thriller with a supernatural premise. The horror here is replaced with dread, a tense fear of the inevitable after seeing the premonitions. There are also plenty of creepy visual sequences to unnerve the audience; these brief glimpses are something that J-Horror has always excelled at, and end up feeling almost like part of the video from The Ring.