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Studio: Lion’s Gate
MSRP: $19.98
Rated: R
Running Time: 96 minutes
Extra Features:

  • The Making Of Reincarnation
  • deleted scenes with optional commentary
  • interview with director
  • introduction by director

The Pitch

The Grudge meets The Shining meets Child’s Play.

The Humans

Yuka, Karina, Tetta Sugimoto, Shun Oguri.

The Nutshell

All those Asian horror movies look the same!

The Lowdown

In 1970, a Japanese professor went off the deep end and killed 11 people – including his wife and children – in a hotel before offing himself; 35 years a later, a movie based on the events is about to be made. But when the film crew and actors visit the now-closed hotel to get a feel for the material, strange things start transpiring. It seems that some spirits don’t want to rest easy.

Reincarnation No.1
Christina Ricci without makeup.

Reincarnation is another horror flick from director Takashi Shimizu, who has such films as the Ju-On series on his resume, as well as the Americanized versions of those (The Grudge movies). Reincarnation is a lot like those films, using familiar themes, setups, and character types. 

And dolls. Lots of dolls. Some of whom may have once been children. But now they’re dolls. Or maybe they were dolls once, but are now children. Or ghosts of children. Or dolls. Or something. Or maybe they’re not there at all, and your mind is just playing tricks on you, making you think that kids have been reincarnated as dolls or hot female Japanese college students who like to play with dolls.

Reincarnatin No.2
With Minya distracted, Kenny was at the mercy of the bullies.

One thing is certain though: children are evil and shouldn’t be trusted. Ever.

Reincarnation isn’t a blood and guts horror movie, but one that tries to create tension and shocks with mood, suspense, and gloomy atmosphere. And shots of people staring off into the distance, their minds full of deep thoughts, all the while unaware that they’re being watched by a dead kid/doll/evil spirit in the corner of the frame. In other words, it’s pretty much interchangeable with the countless other Asian horror films lining the shelves, complete with brooding, slow-moving scenes occasionally juiced up with sudden quick cuts to scenes of violence and/or shocking visions. Reincarnation is a well-titled movie, since it seems like a few other films died and came back as this one. That doesn’t make it bad, just…familiar. Maybe a little too familiar.

Reincarnation No.4
Fiends Of The Library.

Still, there are some good moments in Reincarnation, most notably a well-shot sequence in a library, and the climax features some good “movie within a movie” trickery as reality – or is it? – mimics art to good effect. The acting is respectable, with the requisite number of nubile young Japanese women screaming and looking terrified at the right times. The scenes in the hotel look pretty nice, and help to create a good moody atmosphere. Reincarnation isn’t a boring movie, but like many other Asian horror films, you’ll often be wishing this one would stop taking itself so seriously and just get on with it instead of sitting around on its ponderous butt.

Reincarnation is a respectable Japanese horror movie, but if you watch it don’t feel surprised if you get the feeling that you’ve already seen it in a previous life.

Reincarnation No.5

You never forget your first goose from the Inivisible Man.

The Package

The Reincarnation DVD has a few special features: a video introduction from Takashi Shimizu, 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes (with optional subtitled commentary), an interview with Shimizu, and a “making of” feature that runs for about an hour. Nothing stellar, but it’s decent on the whole.

There are also some trailers for upcoming Lion’s Gate DVDs.

Reincarnation No.6
Doom 4‘s graphics amazed, but the gameplay disappointed.

Reincarnation‘s picture quality is okay, albeit slightly grainy in places. Still, everything is easy to make out. For sound options, you get to listen in either 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital. There’s nothing special about the sound, but the movie sounds okay. English and Spanish subtitles are also available, and since all the dialog is in Japanese and there’s no English dubbing option, you’ll probably want to turn the subtitles on.

6 out of 10