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DOPPELGANGER
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Starring:
Yakusho Shoji
Hiromi Nagasaku
Yusuke Santamaria

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A scientist working on a special chair for the disabled begins to see his exact double, his doppelganger if you will. After trying to ignore it, he comes to realize that his double is starting to do the things he only wished he could do. But is it really his double or he is just imagining it?
Is it good movie?
I thought this flick had a neat premise, but ultimately found this one to be disappointing. Not having seen director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's previous films, such as Pulse, I can't really compare this film to his others, but While I can appreciate the theme of facing your inner demons on the outside, the script really squanders any suspense gained and doesn't really feature any real payoff in the end. In fact, the idea of meeting and fighting your own evil twin only comprises about half the film, sadly. The rest is spent on silly subplots, especially towards the end which make little sense. In fact, I found myself smiling and chuckling during some scenes, which were almost completely devoid of any kind of horror.

All of this is not to say that there's nothing to like in the film. I rather liked Kurosawa's directing style, especially with a camera trick of splitting the picture into two or three separate pictures so you could watch both Hayasaki and the twin do their thing at the same time. It's much more interesting than having the actor work in front of a screen. The acting by the leads was really good as well, though some of the side characters are a bit strange.

So if I'm to decide if Doppelganger's any good or not, I'd have to say"yes", with a few reservations. Though it was nothing like I was expecting, it was interesting enough to watch, though I was always hoping more would happen throughout the film. We see Hayasaki interact often with the doppelganger, yet other than a few scenes, we rarely see what the doppelganger is actually doing. I just wanted the double to be more of a threat to others than just Hayasaki.
Video / Audio
The film is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen with a nice, clean picture.

In the audio department, we are treated to both a Dolby 5.1 mix as well as DTS. The only problem I found was that the mix was heavy on the rear speakers, which could drown out the dialogue. However, it's not very often so it's not too distracting.
The Extras
"Making Of" Featurette - This is pretty much your standard EPK with the actors and director talking about making the film, the characters, etc. Not bad.

An interview with Kiyoshi Kurosawa - An interesting interview where Kurosawa actually discusses whis intent for this film: he wanted it to begin like a standard horror movie, like his previous movies, and then have it go in a different direction. I can't say I agree completely with the idea, but I certainly appreciate his desire to try something different.

Also on the DVD is a trailer for Doppelganger as well as trailers for other Tartan Asia Extreme releases Phone, A Tale of Two Sisters, Oldboy, and A Snake of June.
Last Call
In the end, Doppelganger felt more like a slow paced drama than a horror film. Again, I haven't seen Kurosawa's previous movies, but when I see a film released under the label "Asia Extreme" I have an expectation to see more than just a couple splashes of blood and some missed opportunities for good scares.
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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