Hallucination (2005)

Starring Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi, Kimika Yoshino, Hitomi Miwa, Riki Takeuchi

Directed by Takeshi Miyasaka

The second deranged little offering up for review is the V-cine production Hallucination (aka Genkaku). Imagine you’re Tatsuya, a yakuza underling, and the big boss asks you to take his beloved girlfriend Kumiko out to a secluded cabin in the woods, and hold her there against her will for a 6 day drug detox. Seems pretty straightforward, no? Except he doesn’t mention that the surrounding area was used to dispose of their mob hits (a la Versus), and the spirits are restless.

You soon discover that “secluded” is an understatement and the guide who is the only one who can lead you back to civilization is a few bricks shy of a load (he seems to think the only way to be rid of a ghost is to shoot it in the head… ten times…oookay). Even the nurse and the two other yakuza brethren that accompany you have some skeletons in their respective closets. On top of all that, Kumiko, the boss’ squeeze, is wracked with terrible psychotic episodes that usually conclude with a stiff shot of sedative.

This already volatile situation is complicated even further by the appearance of ghostly apparitions, who while not actually attacking the yakuza campers per se, still manage to deftly antagonize them and steer them into confrontation with each other. By causing Kumiko to hallucinate that the nurse is trying to kill her, or exposing Akira’s drug addiction, the cabin dwellers are soon at each other’s throats. Soon enough, the guns come out and the blood flows.

Actor Riki Takeuchi (Dead or Alive, Deadly Outlaw Rekka) makes an appearance as the yakuza boss, but also acts as Executive Producer on the film. His company, Project Riki, responsible for producing this little gem, succeeds in conveying a real frantic and oppressive mood. Although shot on video, the visuals are entertaining, the actors competent and the mix of classic ghost story with the edgy yakuza film proves remarkably satisfying. I doubt this one will be picked for a U.S. remake however…I just don’t see Tony Soprano taking on ghosts anytime soon.

3 out of 5

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Jon Condit