Cure (1997)

The power of suggestion.
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Cure - The power of suggestion

Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa delivers an original spin on the serial killer movie and has managed to create a perplexing anti-hero that will leave the viewer questioning the abilities and motivations of the murderer long after the movie has finished. Cure is definitely a movie that needs to be watched multiple times and is a breath of fresh air among the multitude of traditional superstition and ghost driven plotlines coming out of the Japanese horror industry. Rather than overwhelming the audience with masses of death and gore, Cure relies on a few unnecessary yet emotional deaths and a bloody calling card to chill the spine of the spectator, plus the emotional involvement of the hero to the villain brings an amount of realism to the movie that makes the horror more believable and therefore more unsettling.

Kenichi Takabe (Koji Yakusho) is a detective investigating a series of vicious killings which would seem completely unconnected if it was not for each of the corpses having an X carved into the body after death. In each case the murderer is soon captured and freely admits to committing the crime but cannot say why they perpetrated the act of brutality. The victim is always close to the murderer in some way and there are no attempts to cover up the killing, the murderers seem dazed and confused and Takabe is convinced that there is more to the executions than mere coincidence.

Suspecting some king of hypnotism, Takabe enlists the assistance of Makato Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki), a clinical psychologist, and the detective soon finds that a common link between the murderers is that they have all recently come into contact with Kunio Mamiya. Mamiya seems to be a confused and constantly bewildered individual suffering from extreme short term memory loss. Takabe's wife suffers from a similar condition and he is determined to uncover the connection between Mamiya and the murders and maybe also gain some insight into his wife's condition at the same time. Unable to understand how such a non-functioning person could persuade others to kill, Takabe looks deeper into the past of Mamiya and discovers that he was a student of psychology specializing in hypnotism and mesmerism.

Now convinced that Mamiya is the killer and that his seemingly amnesic condition is all part of his hypnosis methodology, Takabe must stop the killings before he succumbs to the suggestive powers himself.

Cure is not a movie that serves up questions with answers for desert. There are many more questions propounded than answers and a lot of the storyline is ambiguous enough to be left up to the viewer to fill in the gaps even though the answers are there, hidden within the kooky characters. The ending is very subtle and leaves a lot open to interpretation leaving a strong sense of what has transpired but a large element of doubt. Cure is the thinking person's thriller with a beautifully crafted storyline that inspires repeat viewings.
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Categories: Asian Horror Movies

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