The Dead Speak. In this anthology inspired by “The Twilight Zone” and J-Horror, they speak in hopes of wrongs being made right. And it seems they may be getting some help from the living this time around.
There is something refreshing about a filmmaker taking a chance and tweaking a certain style of cinema. In Tales from the Dead
, director Jason Cuadrado
takes the J-Horror style with vengeful ghosts, yet somehow turns it into a sort of American thriller (although an American thriller in Japanese with subtitles). I’m not talking about the typical remake of a J-Horror film. His anthology feels different from that and shares a seemingly close feel to “The Twilight Zone”. It begins with a woman named Shoko (Nikki Takei
) who breaks down on the side of the road with a flat tire, she is picked up by another women, a young lady by the name of Tamika (Lena Iko
) who tells her ride tales of communicating with the dead.
The first tale, “Home Sweet Home” is a tad predictable, but it is also a great introduction to this strange ghost whisperer. There is a unique twist with her character as she seems to sympathize with the dead and not the living. How she leaves a man in a wheelchair is very surprising. There is something very disarming about her and it makes for a fascinating character. We listen to her tales as does the woman she picks up. They include a strange chalk outline in “Chalk” and a man who gets more than he bargained for by offering moments of his life to the highest bidder in “The Dirty Business of Time”. It all leads to the inevitable tale which began with the original story called “Shoko The Widow” told in classic black and white.
There is a shocking lack of gore which sort of makes Tales From the Dead a more powerful tale. Again, the young psychic who has an issue with the living is such an interesting character that the human drama is more involving. You don’t really need a whole lot of blood to tell this tale. And for a seemingly low-budget, Cuadrado is able to spin a fascinating tale which is only slightly lessened by some clichéd dialogue, especially within “Chalk”. But the mostly good performances and an intriguing take on the horror anthology with a J-Horror slant, make Tales From The Dead an ghoulishly good time.
Tales From The Dead is an intriguing tale of revenge from beyond the grave. Each tale in this anthology is a unique, although oftentimes predictable, look into the human psyche. Lena Iko as a woman who speaks to the dead gives a playful performance while offering up a surprisingly different type of horror leading lady. A low-budget chiller that gives a fresh perspective on the current J-Horror trend.