Immensely gritty, and gruesome, “Nightmare Detective” delivers edgy cinema with chilling visuals to make your hair stand up on end. Dark drifter Kyoichi Kagenuma (Ryuhei Matsuda) has a unique gift, the gift to meld with an individual’s dream state and detect the source of their nightmares. With this amazing gift comes a price.
We witness his feat to enter dreams at the beginning of the film where he analyzes a businessman’s nightmares about the daughter he never had. Considering this “gift” more of a curse than a blessing, Kagenuma finds himself suicidal. Getting caught up in the whirlwind of frightening dreams, he discovers the cacophony of the thoughts of others.
Keiko Kirishima is unseasoned rookie detectives (played by J-pop star- Hitomi in her acting debut) who graduates from a cushy desk job to the homicide unit where there are several cases of people are mutilating themselves with razor blades. Unready for what happens on the Homocide beat, Keiko must force herself adjust in order to be effective.
These mysterious suicides are have two aspects to them. The ones who are suicidal call nightly to the same mobile number prior to their own deaths. The question remains as to who is on the other line acting as a catalyst to these suicides.
Keiko is ordered by her superiors to take an unorthodox approach and attempt to enlist the supernatural talents of Kagenuma. Approaching Kagenuma on their first meeting became disastrous as he turns down her offer to hunt the killer. Being a determined detective to solve this seemingly unusual case, Detective Kirishima places her own life in danger by luring the mobile phone psychopath out in the open.
She dials a “0”, the number which summons the killer, the same number used by previous victims. Reluctant now due to the hand dealt to him by Keiko placing herself in harm’s way, The “Nightmare Detective”, must now bring forth his otherworldly powers to stop the murderer who is intrigued by Kagenuma’s uniqueness.
Director Shinya Tsukamoto (“Tetsuo: The Iron Man”) , delivers a very bizarre, gritty film which entraps us at the very opening. Reminiscent of a “Nightmare on Elm Street”, there are several elements which make Tsukamoto’s film unique. Cinematography wise, the film is dark and foreboding, evoking a mood synonymous with other films of the genre. Slow moving yet intriguing every step of the way, the above average performances, lighting and sheer mystery is enough to make “Nightmare Detective”, a classic horror film for many years to come.
* * * 1/2
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