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The Cure [1997] [DVD]

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  • Actors: Koji Yakusho, Masato Hagiwara, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Anna Nakagawa, Yoriko Douguchi
  • Directors: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Producers: Tetsuya Ikeda, Satoshi Kanno, Atsuyuki Shimoda, Tsutomu Tsuchikawa
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Mar 2007
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000LE0TVU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 482,398 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Japanese horror directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. A series of murders have been committed across Tokyo, with a distinguishing mark that connects them: a bloody 'x' carved into the neck of each victim. In each case the murderer is found near the scene of the crime, but has no memory of committing it. These 'murderers' turn out to be ordinary citizens who all claim they had no control over their actions, and have each had previous interactions with the same mysterious man. But who is he, and what is this power that he seems to wield over others? Detective Kenichi Takabe (Koji Yakusho) must now place his own sanity on the line in an attempt to end the wave of inexplicable terror sweeping the city.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. V. F. R. Niekerk on 19 Sep 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a marvelous Japanese thriller/horror movie many compare to Se7en, although it only really resembles that movie in tone.
It's really dark and disturbing and also a mite depressing, so pop a few Xanax before popping it in your DVD player.
It concerns a strange young man of few words who ingratiates himself in people's lives and his mere presence and repeated questions of : "Who are you?" slowly and inexorably drives them to demented acts of murder.
His presence strips away their veneer of humanity and respectability which we all pose as masks to fit into public life and exposes the animal instincts inside ourselves. Or that's what I think the movie means, anyway.
The actor who portays this killer creator is brilliant and unbelievably creepy. His calm demeanor and unruffled demeanor with the detective trying to solve the multiple murder cases is chilling to behold.
When the detective enters the sranger without a name's realm near the end of the movie, your jaw will drop.
It is a place which makes David Lynch's phantasmagorical lanscapes and other nightmarish otherworlds look like sunny playgrounds.
The ending is a bit ambigious though. What does it mean?
I think I know, but if someone can 100% explain it to me, I would be grateful.
Otherwise, a great film which relies on atmosphere and suggestion for its scares. (Although there is one unbelievably gory scene the likes of which I have never seen and will make films like Hostel and Saw blush.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 26 reviews
94 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant. 20 May 2004
By Robert Beveridge - Published on
Format: DVD
Kyua (Kyoshi Kurosawa, 1997)
Veteran director Kyoshi Kurosawa (Serpent's Path, the recently-optioned Pulse) weighs in with this 1997 offering, and the best way to describe it is giallo gone Yakuza. It has all the highlights of good giallo, from an overly gory mystery storyline to broad cinematic shots in the best Argento style to characters who sometimes just say the silliest things imaginable to one particular plot twist that makes absolutely no sense to anyone until you've seen the movie fifty times. And with the Japanese so much farther out on the bleeding edge of extreme horror than the Italians these days, you can bet a Japanese giallo is going to be two hours of bang-up knockdown bloody fun. And oh, my, it is.
Cure (the English title) revolves around a series of brutal murders with one thing in common: the throat of each victim is slashed in a large X. Kenichi Takabe (Koji Yakusho of Tampopo, Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, etc.), the inspector assigned to the murders, soon discovers that they all seem to center around an odd amnesiac (Masato Hagiwara). He's not the murderer, but each one of the murderers-yes, they're all different people-came into contact with him not long before killing their victims.
While the style is giallo all the way, the pacing is Japanese New Horror. Kurosawa starts things off in the nastiest way possible, then gives us the finding of the amnesiac and some buildup in the characters of Kenichi and his reluctant partner in this, Makoto Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki of The Eight-Tomb City and Full metal Yakuza fame) before the murders kick off again and everything rolls into high gear. There are more than enough snippets to satisfy gorehounds and a fine, albeit slowly-paced, mystery for fans of more explicit mysteries (I'm sure I'm not the only one who spent the latter half of the film drawing comparisons to Silence of the Lambs). But the true fanatic audience of this film are going to be the giallo lovers, those who eagerly await every new film from Dario Argento. For them, Kurosawa is sure to be a fantastic find. Hopefully, everyone else will come up to speed eventually (perhaps when the American version of Pulse, directed by... ulp... Wes Craven, is released next year). *** ½
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
"Sometimes A Crime Has No Meaning": Brilliant And Mesmerizing Film! 16 Dec 2006
By Ernest Jagger - Published on
Format: DVD
"Cure," by director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is one of the most intelligent and brilliant thrillers I have seen in some time. In fact, this is one of the best I have ever seen. This is a film that takes patience, however, it is a rewarding experience to view such a masterfully directed film that makes you think. This is not a mindless and directionless film as so many in the horror/thriller genre are. No, this film is a thinking film. The reviewer Wheelchair Assassin described it as "three exists past brilliant" and he is correct. The film opens with what appears to be a normal man on his way home from work. Picking up a prostitute, he later bludgeons her to death. Not content to merely kill her, he sets about placing and X carving into her body. But why? What has this woman done to him to warrant such a horrible act? Moreover, the murderer hardly knew his victim and he had no reason to kill her.

Enter detective Kenichi Takabe (Koji Yakusho) who has been investigating a series of grisly and bizarre murders, where each of the victims have had an 'X' cut into their bodies after they have been killed. What do each of these victims have in common with their killers? That is what Detective Takabe is trying to discover. Moreover, what makes the murders so bizarre is that all of the murderer's are found close to the crime scene. Plus, all of the murders have nothing in common except the 'X' carved on their bodies. Detective Takabe (Koji Yakushi) begins to explore a possible connection to the killers and a third party involved. Nothing about the killings make sense, however, Detective Takabe believes that each of the murders are linked together somehow. And with this, director Kiyoshi Kurosawa takes the viewer into an unsettling and mind boggling world of suspense.

Detective Takabe teams up with Makato Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki) who is a clinical psychologist. The atmosphere in the film is terrific and suspenseful, as Takabe himself is going through his own personal problems. While detective Takabe believes that there is a hypnotist behind these killings, he has a hard time convincing Dr. Sakuma. Dr. Sakuma believes that there is no connection, and even tells the detective that "Sometimes a crime has no meaning." Sakuma informs Detective Takabe that it would take a genius to do such an act. Plus, what would be the purpose of such a terrible crime. Vanity perhaps? Or something more sinister? This is where the viewer is introduced to Mamiya (Masato Hagiwara). Not much is known about Mamiya other than he is a former psychology student who has studied the writings of Mesmer, an 18th-century Austrian doctor, who first theorized about the use of hypnotism. I am not giving anything away in this, as the film explores this in the beginning as the viewer is introduced to Mamiya.

Detective Takabe knows that Mamiya has had some interaction with most of the killers. However, how is Mamiya able to get others to kill? This film comes at you from all angles: Suspenseful, atmospheric, creepy, nuanced, everything I like about thrillers. And this is what makes this film so great, in that there is the ever present suspense and the constant buildup of the unknown made known, and made unknown again. What is Mamiya's reasons behind his actions? He has amnesia and as such, has no recollection what he is doing. Or does he? And for that matter, is he the only one behind these hypnotic killings. This film is very ambiguous and will not hand you the answers to all the questions you seek. And I liked this aspect of the film. I will not give out anything in this film which will ruin the viewing experience for those who have not seen it, but the beginning, middle and ending are great. The whole film is suspenseful and atmospheric in every way. There are more questions than answers in this terrific thriller.

When Sakuma eventually comes to the conclusion that Mamiya poses a danger to detective Takabe and others, he warns the detective to stay away from the suspect. But is there more to Detective Takabe than Sakuma realizes? Furthermore, is it Sakuma who is in more danger from Mamiya? Or is there someone else who poses a greater threat to him? I find each time I view this film, I have more answers than I had the first time. I believe I know what occurs in the ending, and why, and yet I am not 100 percent sure. And maybe thats a good thing. As I wrote earlier, this is a thinking persons thriller/suspense film.

As Detective Takabe and the psychologist Sukuma begin to unravel the mystery surrounding Mamiya they come away with more questions that answers. This is a very intelligently done film, and probably Kurosawa's best to date. The films creepy atmosphere, and great soundtrack really enhance the film. This film is not about gratuitous violence and gore. Moreover, if ambiguity is not one of those traits in films you like, then this may not be the film for you. However, I recommend that you rent the film and see if it is your kind of film. I believe it is one of the greatest crime thrillers I have ever seen. I would have given this film 5 stars, but each time I have done so, only 4 stars show up on the review. This is a 5-star film, and it is highly, highly recommended. [Stars: 5]
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
How Can You Be Guilty If You've No Idea You Did It? 6 Feb 2004
By E. Lee Zimmerman - Published on
Format: DVD
CURE is an entirely engrossing cop procedural drama coupled with more than just a healthy hint of THE X FILES that scores kudos for its relentlessly plotted creepiness tied to the intensity of the murders.
Inspector Takabe and Criminal Psychologist Sakuma believe they are on the growing trail of a serial killer forcing others to commit grisly murders, but one fact doesn't add up: the killers have no recollection of what they've done. Enter Mamiya, a psychology student turned 'mesmerist' who plants suggestions in the mind -- latent impulses upon which everyone he comes into contact with will eventually act upon.
Vindicated by his capture, Takabe and Sakuma begin their quest to understand how Mamiya has accomplished what he's done, risking both their lives and sanity in order to bring the entire bloody affair to an end.
Extremely well done and grippingly paced, CURE is a great flick to pop in and sit ready to pull the covers up over your eyes!
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant filmmaking.... 12 Dec 2006
By Grigory's Girl - Published on
Format: DVD
I really love this film. I love horror films that get into your head quietly, and then stay there for days. This film is one of those films. It's similar in tone and style to Kwaidan, Vampyr, and The Sixth Sense. The director, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, directs the film with a beautiful langorous pace, with very long takes, incredible atmosphere, a superbly renedered soundtrack, understated performances, and a very ambiguous plot. It's nice to see a horror film without gratuitous gore, stupid teenage characters, idiotic language, and plot holes that are there because the writers/director are lazy, not because they're trying to be ambiguous. Some people haven't liked this film very much, arguing that it was too boring and vague. It's supposed to be ambiguous and vague; that's what makes it as good as it is.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Disease 16 Nov 2004
By Dark Mechanicus JSG - Published on
Format: DVD
Kiyoshi Kurosawa's tight, mesmerizing, brutal little puzzle-box of a horror-film "Cure" ("Kyua") deserves the highest praise I can offer: as jaded as I am, it thoroughly creeped me out, sent me to bed at 4 in the morning, and gave me a door-prize in the form of a shivery, watery little nightmare (the first I've had in about two years).

I am in awe of director Kurosawa.

I am in awe of this marvellous little masterwork of grue and madness. Like "Cure"'s stoic, besieged Detective Takabe (a note-perfect role turned in by the masterful Koji Yakusho, at once world-weary, doggedly determined, and compulsive): I am repelled *and* compelled. I am simultaneously revulsed and fascinated.

Did I mention that "Cure" is really one of the scariest, nastiest, most terrifying little creep-fests I have ever had the delight to watch?

Be warned: "Cure" does not milk its scares with sudden jump-shocks, like its more familiar (to American audiences) "Ringu" and "Ju-On" have done. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those movies, but "Cure" isn't that type of film; its horrors are far more subtle but infinitely more disturbing. It doesn't work on jump-scares; it doesn't need to.

I have written that the most effective Asian horror films (as well as a few of Miike's horror-Yakuza movies) possess a kind of "viral" quality. Like a virus, the danger is exposure, and as a victim you don't know exactly when you're infected. Like a virus, the symptoms aren't immediately apparent: the virus burrows into one cell, eats it alive, explodes its cell walls, sends out a burst of colonial spores. Your body and mind are turned against you, turned into a factory producing more of the virus, and you explode outwards, infecting the trusting, helpless, unwitting hordes around you.

OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I think "Cure" is very viral: Kurosawa and Director of Photography guru Tokushu Kikimura (who has since done the cinematography for "Ringu" director Hideo Nakata's "Chaos" as well as both "Ju-On" outtings with Takashi Shimizu) turn all their art, and all their cinematic arsenal, on besieging the unwitting viewer, on assaulting the senses---but my God, with such subtlety that you never realize you're under siege until it's too late!

The plot is spare enough and Kurosawa gets right to work on conjuring up madness and alienation: we walk alongside a Tokyo businessman through a dim stretch of pedestrian tunnel. He wrenches part of an iron-handrail from its casement as the neon tunnel lights hiss and flicker. Later, he paces out of his apartment's bathroom, and uses the bludgeon on his wife; the police find him huddled and gibbering in one of the building's supply cabinets.

So here we have it: Tokyo has been ravaged by a string of brutal and supposedly unrelated serial murders, the victims slaughtered and an "X" carved into their throats. The catch: the killers are all unrelated, and from a wide range of professions---and with no criminal records.

There is one connection: each of the victims had brief contact with an unassuming young man, an amnesiac named Kunio Mamiya (played here by the accomplished and full-bore creepy Masato Hagiwara). Detective Takabe, beset with his own problems (including an amnesiac wife), leads the interrogation of Mamiya, and what follows is an intense, gruelling game of psychological cat-and-mouse that makes the intellectual swordfight between Hannibal Lecter and Agent Starling from "Silence of the Lambs" look like a playground fight between spoiled toddlers.

Kurosawa works his sorcery on a palette of silence---that is, he understands the role silence itself plays in making the mind receptive to true horror. "Cure" is fascinated by hypnosis, by mental suggestion, by mesmerism; the sinister Mamiya, himself a human tabula rasa, studies Mesmer and uses a lighter to lead his victims?---accomplices?---students?---into the darkness. Like hypnosis, Kurosawa dominates his audience by degrees, by insinuation, by stealth.

The world of "Cure" is equally sick: this is a film of long silent stretches broken up by whispered dialogue, by ominous, guttural, industrial groans that are nearly subliminal. It is a world of rotten, derelict warehouses, dirty restrooms, and anonymous apartment tower blocks; of tomb-like pedestrian tunnels and concrete urban hellscapes, studded with blast furnaces and crumbling, diseased factories.

The danger of "Cure" is alienation, of losing oneself in the industrial wilderness. "Who are you?" asks our villain, plaintively---but insidiously. Masato Hagiwara is brilliant as the enigmatic Mamiya: he would confound Socrates with his endless questions. But he plays the role as a canny predator: watch how quickly his aimless little stream of harmless questions turns into a flood, and turns the tables on his interrogators.

"Cure" has inevitably been compared with American serial-killer classics like "Silence of the Lambs" and "Se7en": the comparison is unfair to those films and does a monstrous disservice to "Cure", which has its own wicked melody to sing in the darkness. For unlike its Western cousins in bloodletting, whose monsters are ultimately packaged up for analysis and rational experimentation, the monster in "Cure" stays in its box long enough---and only because it wants---to fool its prey.

Sweet dreams.
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