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CARVED
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: K˘ji Shiraishi

Starring:
Haruhiko Kat˘
Eriko Sato
Miki Mizuno

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A woman tragically disfigured by her crazy husband terrorizes people in a small town community school. She terrorizes people by wearing a surgical mask and asking her victims if they think she is beautiful. If they respond negatively, well, they meet the business end of her rage.
Is it good movie?
The best thing about Carved that sets it apart from the piles of ho-hum Asian horror flicks I’ve watched is that kids are at stake, and they get killed. I don't think it's great to see kids get killed, but I do admire a film that takes risks, ups the ante and does something a little different for once. The whole plot centers around two young teachers who are searching for the answers to the phenomenon of disappearing children.

I can't lie here, this is a good film that is intense and scary. Built atmospherically, it's easy to tell that the whole town is truly fearful of this ghost that is haunting them. Also, I really liked the emphasis on relationships which is built very well; the idea of placing importance on various relationships between father and son, son and daughter, mother and daughter, etc is a good one, and really added some weight to the film.

As opposed to other villains, I thought that the slit-mouthed woman was awesome too, a completely unrelenting and terrifying woman who is as nasty as she is ugly. No mercy was a good way to go with this one and I totally bought into it. You won't be cringing as things aren't shown on screen, but mostly off screen, which makes things even more chilling in my opinion. The use of sound is well done too.

If I had to complain, I'd say that the ending was a bit weak sauce, and the film was a bit choppy at times making for some awkward pacing. The acting was okay, nothing super special, but overall, this was a good night at the movies for this guy.
Video / Audio
In the Video department, we get an anamorphic widescreen picture that was really sort of white-brightish, but crisp and clean.

Audio comes in 5.1 Dolby Digital, and I noticed no noticeable problems- my ears enjoyed it.
The Extras
First things first, we get a 15-minute making-of featurette, The Making of Carved," which really is standard stuff, exactly what you'd expect from a piece with a great title like that.

There' also a short round of interviews with the cast and director, but they're way too short to add anything substantial here.

Last and least, you get A trailer and few TV spots for other Tartan releases.
Last Call
The DVD isn't stellar and the movie isn't perfect, but I was just happy to see a J-Horror flick that was risky, brutal and unsettling for once as opposed to the same old shtick I see all the time. The slit-mouthed woman was creepy as all hell and I was kept entertained the whole time I watched Carved. I recommend it heartily!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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