When Hideo Nakata followed up Gore Verbinski’s superior version of Ringu (The Ring) with the atrocious The Ring 2, I figured his run in Hollywood was over. But mediocre directors don’t get run out of this town; they just seek refuge at Fox! Ergo, Nakata will take his slow-building dread act to the Pico lot, where he’ll re-team with producer Taka Ichise, who not only shepherded Ringu and Whatever The Fuck They Called Dark Water in Japan (I can’t lay this Ugly American shtick on any thicker), but the Ju-on franchise as well.
Together, they’ll make Inhuman, which will be based on a pitch by Eric Heisserer concerning a real-life Japanese murder case. If you’re wondering how Roy Lee figures into all of this, well, wonder no longer: Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment will be producing alongside Ichise and some folks I’ve never heard of from Ozla Pictures. (I’m still surprised Lee didn’t have a piece of the best film to emerge from the J-horror movement, Pulse aka Kairo, but, then again, maybe he knew what he was doing on that one.)
Since the American versions of these J-horror "classics" are basically uninspired retreads of movies that weren’t all that great to begin with, it’s safe to assume that Nakata and Ichise will have free reign to make Inhuman as ploddingly atmospheric as they like. Though Nakata isn’t a bad director, he’s no Kiyoshi Kurosawa (who, by the way, hasn’t really been Kiyoshi Kurosawa lately). I anticipate his movies with the same enthusiasm I accord the next effort from, say, Scott McGhee and David Siegel (to pull a comparison straight out of my ass): once upon a time, these guys looked like interesting filmmakers; now, we know they’re limited. On balance, it’s definitely better to have them making movies instead of Adam Shankman and Marc Lawrence, but I’ll do my best to avoid their films, too.