THE COMPLEX

 

The Complex

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‘Ghosts don’t haunt places they haunt the human mind’ is a choice phrase uttered during this Japanese psychic chiller directed by Hideo Nakata and it would be one well remembered by the films central protagonist, Asuka. At times resembling a more convoluted plotline devised by esteemed author Haruki Murakami the film relies more on cleverly constructed atmospherics than clever dialogue or acting skills. Despite falling slightly short of becoming a classic of its genre it is not wholly unsuccessful and building to a hysterical climax it is certainly worthy of note and investigation.

 Asuka (Atsuka Maeda), a young nursing student, moves into a housing complex with her parents and younger brother and straight away feels ill at ease as the complex feels abandoned apart from a young lone child playing. After befriending the child immediately strange occurrences start to happen and a shifting of emotions pervades.

 Strange noises from the next apartment and an alarm clock which goes off every morning at 5.30 am arouse feelings of unease which are not assuaged by friends at college informing her the complex has a reputation for being haunted.Matters only worsen after she discovers a malnourished corpse in her neighbouring apartment but she also forms a bond with one of the young men, Sasahara (Hiroki Narimiya),  drafted in to clean up the apartment.

Things however take on even more sinister twists and turns and strange happenings conspire in Asuka no longer able to distinguish between what is real and what is merely a product of her obviously disturbed state of mind. It would be unfair to divulge too much of the plot but matters become more frenetic resulting in a frenzied exorcism to rid her apartment-or is it her mind- of the evil spirits which torment  and occupy a place in her psyche.

 Skilfully executed The Complex is relatively successful on its own terms however it will not trouble classics of its genre and although compared to Japanese classics such as The Ring it is simply not in the same class as that film. It is still worth checking out though as it does compel the viewer to try and distil the reality of unfolding of events from what is simply imagined or feared.

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