X-Cross (2008)

X-Cross (click for larger image)Reviewed by Andrew Kasch

Starring Japanese school girls and not one single ghost!

Directed by Kenta Fukasaku

X-Cross’s Official Site

Take The Wicker Man and 80’s slasher movies, blend them with a survival horror video game and a hefty dose of martial arts, and you’ve got X-Cross – a bizarro slice of cult cinema that could only come from Japan. For those who find Sam Raimi movies “slow-paced,” this demented slice of midnight movie bliss may just be your ticket.

Directed by Kenta (Battle Royale II) Fukasaku from a script by Tetsuya (Death Note) Oishi, the film follows two Japanese school girls on vacation in an isolated hot springs village where things aren’t quite what they seem. After encountering several strange locals, the pair soon realize they’ve run afoul of an entire town’s worth of bloodthirsty cultists – and they demand a sacrifice. As dumb luck would have it, a patchy-eyed scissors-wielding slasher also stumbles into town after the two friends are quickly separated, using their cell phones to stay in contact while each one tries to survive the night.

If it sounds over-ambitious, that’s because it is, and it’s sometimes difficult to get your bearings amidst all the chaos. But it hardly puts a damper on the entertainment value. Fukasaku’s inventive direction and eye-popping visuals make for one wild ride at the movies – logic be damned! X-Cross also takes the non-linear route by showing the same events through the perspective of each girl. It’s a gimmick but a cool one that helps ratchet up the sense of paranoia and weirdness that fills each moment.

Hybrid movies don’t always work, and this one bounces from intense horror to slapstick comedy to kung fu fightin’ more often than you can count, but all the elements blend together nicely. The action scenes are beautifully staged and choreographed, the running gags are suitably funny, and there are even several tension-filled moments that deliver on the scares. Avid video gamers will also recall the Clock Tower series, which seems to be a huge influence here (fitting since father Kinji Fukasaku directed the third game just before his death).

It would be criminal to say any more since it’s best to go into this film with a clean slate. But after all these years, slasher junkies and fans of Japanese cult cinema finally have something to scream about. X-Cross is a unique spin on the genre and delivers a delirious balls-to-the-wall rollercoaster of a movie … without a single Asian ghost in sight.

4 out of 5

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Mike Phalin

Since 1997, Michael Patrick Phalin has been a contributing writer to various websites including Dread Central, iMockery, Bloody Disgusting and KrytenSyxx. During the early 1980s, Phalin's love of the movie industry was fueled by the VHS tapes he found during his time spent at the video rental store his mother worked at. Rather than attending a daycare regularly, young Michael would form a tower of tapes with interesting cover art and go watch each one, the very first of these being the original 'A Nightmare on Elm Street.' From that point he was hooked on horror and the process behind creating special effects. In his twenties, Mike met Steve 'Uncle Creepy' Barton and was soon aiding the horror website Dread Central with film reviews. As the site grew in popularity, Phalin soon started writing news stories and conducting interviews on a daily basis. After a few years, he decided to take a break from writing to focus on other opportunities. After moving to a beach community with his wife Michelle, both were cast to appear in the final season of A&E's home improvement show 'Fix This Yard' in 2013. This event rekindled Mike's love of the entertainment industry. Between the time he spends being with his family, Michael continues to contribute to Dread Central both with writing and photography. In his mid-thirties, Phalin took up oil painting after being inspired by an episode of Bob Ross. Pieces of his artwork and photography can be found on his Tumblr and official website.

  • Spaceshark

    Hopefully, this washes away the sour taste BR2 left my SOUL.

    • Sirand

      I still think everyone overreacted to BR2. It has some major flaws, but it wasn’t THAT BAD…and I rather like the director’s cut.

  • Kryten Syxx

    And the Japanese get Spirit Photography Magazine Monthly!

  • Sirand

    I guess the Japanese get better coverage than we do.

  • Avid Fan

    This looks rather fun.
    Ever notice in American horror films, cell phones are always out of range, but in asian films, not only do cell phones work well in out-of-range places, but they recieve supernatural call too.

  • Rorschach

    This sounds sort of like MACHINE GIRL, in a wierd way….with all of the hyperfast battles, and fast paced storyline. I dug the hell out of that movie, so this sounds like it’s right up my proverbial alley.

    Thanks for the heads up, Sirand!

  • Sirand


  • Nomad

    hehehe..u loved a chick horror film.