Kuroneko is so ahead of its time! It’s hard to believe that it could look so good even though it’s an extremely audacious film with characters floating around. It could compare to Alien from 1979 in the sense that it’s production design, atmosphere, and practicality are all working at the highest level to make it a timeless film. This was my first time watching a Kaneto Shindô directed film, but I feel like I just splashed into a filmography that will drench me in style and fear.
There’s no fucking around with Kuroneko as the intro is probably the darkest moment of the entire film. We see Yone and her daughter in law, Shige, get raped and murdered by a shit ton of samurai soldiers. They burn the house down and leave, little did they know that the two would reappear as ghosts who look like fine women with a vengeance. They lure samurai with their looks and then brutally murder them which causes governor Raiko to get involved because his soldiers keep disappearing. He tells an incredible fighter named Gantoki that he must find the people who are killing all of his soldiers. When Gintoki finds the ghosts, he finds out much more about his own life in some of the darkest ways imaginable.
Kuroneko really stands out because of its incredible atmosphere throughout. It is a black and white film that uses the lack of colors to its advantage. The story is layered, but so demoralizing which is something we as horror fans stay on the lookout for. Kuroneko is a must see for horror connoisseurs and then it breaks through that barrier because the story is so intriguing that fans of drama should check it out as well. Nobuku Otawa and Kiwako Taichi are absolutely terrifying as Yone and Shige/The Ghosts who kill with a certain tenacity that is tough to match. Kichiemon Nakamura captures the fear and confusion of Gantoki’s path so well and he’s a great leading man. I feel really strongly about the music provided by Hikaru Hayashi throughout Kuroneko. Every now and again, I’ll experience a film where the score is worthy of being called its own character. I think that’s the case here and I can’t wait to experience more Japanese horror films, especially if Kaneto Shindô is the person in charge.