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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 31 May 2015
This film was OK. Quite slow moving, eerie in places but not particularly scary, nor gory - as you would expect of an 18 rated 'horror' film. It's main story is about an evil newspaper that shows people's impending deaths. If you are unfortunate enough to see it and read it, your powerless to do anything to help....
However, the main character manages to jump back in time and save his daughter from an accident she's been killed in, and ends up in a place that might be hell....
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on 23 February 2008
On his way back from a family outing with his wife Ayaka, and their young daughter Nana, Hideki - an intelligent and well respected high school professor - stops off on a lonesome stretch of road to use the payphone. Whilst waiting in the phone booth for a connection, he finds a strange scrap of newspaper foretelling of his daughter's imminent death. As he contemplates the page in absolute horror, Nana struggles to unbuckle her seatbelt. Seeking assistance, Ayaka crosses the street and taps on the glass. Hideki looks up, startled, when suddenly... a runaway truck ploughs into the couple's stationary car with their daughter still inside. Ayaka and Hideki run to the car, only to watch impotently as a fire ignites and the car bursts into flames. This startling opening sequence sets the wheels in motion for an enthralling supernatural thriller that deals specifically with the notions of guilt, fear and the broader implications of fate; as Hideki and Ayaka are left to join forces to further understand the mysteries of this seemingly spectral newspaper in light of a series of new and perhaps even more damaging premonitions.

The thing I like best about Japanese horror films of this particular type is the sense of atmosphere. The use of lingering, slow burning tension when a character approaches a closed door, and we know they shouldn't open it, but we still want them too, regardless! For me, it's everything that horror should be. No gratuitous gore, no shock MTV style montages, just a slow, lingering feeling of dread that grows with intensity from one scene to the next. It also helps that the majority of these films are directed with flair and imagination, while for the most part, offering us intelligent characters and interesting scenarios.

For me, Premonition (2004) is up there with some of the best supernatural/psychological horror films of the last ten years; with its combination of eerie plotting, gloomy images and emphasis on character as opposed to cheap thrills. You could always argue that the plot isn't entirely original, seeming like a veritable patchwork of ideas previously developed in films as disparate as The Dead Zone (1983), Final Destination (2000) and The Butterfly Effect (2004); with the usual themes and motifs recognisable from other, more iconic "J-Horror" films, such as The Ring (1998), Dark Water (2000), The Grudge (2000) and Reincarnation (2005), as well as other non-Japanese productions such as The Eye (2002), The Quiet Family (2000) and A Tale of Two Sisters (2003); all of which add to the overall sense of drama and suspense. Regardless, despite the familiarity of the plot and some of its ideas, Premonition still rewards the viewer with an air of creeping mystery, dread, fear and paranoia; as well as some skilfully executed moments of subtle horror and white-knuckle terror.

As with many Japanese films of this type, the central concept seems very much rooted in the traditions of old Japanese/Buddhist folktales; the kind of stories and fables that acted as the starting point for classic Japanese shock-cinema such as Kwaidan (1964), Onibaba (1964) and Kuroneko (1968), though with a modern-twist that recasts the idea of a newspaper that can predict future tragedies as more of a serious, unstoppable force; one that perhaps points to deeper, socio-political interpretations pertaining to the current state of Japan in the twenty-first century. Whether or not you choose to approach the film on any deeper, sub-textual level, will be entirely down to the individual, though there's still much to enjoy and take away from the film, even when approached as a straight, by the numbers horror.

Like all the great Asian horror films - or any great horror film at all for that matter - it is the story that pulls us in, but the great use of atmosphere that keeps us enthralled until the very end. Although some critical opinion has been mixed; no doubt due to the over-exposure of Japanese/Asian horror cinema over the last five or six years - and in particular from tepid American re-makes - I feel that Premonition is a genuinely good supernatural shocker that should appeal to anyone with an interest in "good horror" that doesn't involve buckets of blood and severed limbs. Alongside Premonition, you can also find two other films from the same producer, Taka Ichise, both of which cover similar stories and ideas as the film in question. These films, Infection (2003) directed by Masayuki Ochiai and Reincarnation (2005) directed by Takashi Shimizu, were meant to be part of the larger "J-horror" collection (involving different supernatural-themed films directed by some of Japan's most creative genre filmmakers), which, at the time of writing, has subsequently been aborted.

Regardless, if you like Premonition and appreciate the slow-burning sense of psychological and supernatural dread, then Infection and Reincarnation are both worth checking out, with both of those particular films capturing a similar, sinister mood that unfolds at a slow, lingering pace and works great, especially when experienced at around two o'clock in the morning; of course, just like the film in question.
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on 26 October 2016
Chap finds piece of newspaper predicting his daughter's imminent death, then witnesses same a few moments later. Similar events with other bits of newspaper occur and he starts to go off his rocker. He discovers other people with similar abilities, and finds that if you do nothing then the forecast event happens and you die, and if you DO try and do something, you turn funny colours and then die.
This kind of thing has been done far better by films like "The Butterfly Effect", "Final Destination" and, above all, "Ring" - that uber-shocker which made my hair stand on end. Apart from an effective beginning - the event causing his daughter's death made me jump - this film lacks legs. When the pace starts to sag, as it often does, the Hero fills in by howling a lot and rolling around, and if he's not available then his ex-wife stands in and has a good scream instead. Towards the end we are presented with that sure sign that the film-makers can't think how to end the story - a stream of maddening alternative realities appear, as if the Hero is waking from one nightmare only to find himself in another, so that the story eventually slumps into a predictable and vapid ending and, by the time it's got there, has lost all pretence to having any kind of internal logic.
Mediocre and avoidable.
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2012
A couples child is killed in a car accident but its an event that the father learns about minutes from it happening. Years later the now divorced couple are struggling to live out their lives but both are trying to learn about the mysterious newspaper that foretold of their daughters death. Its an interesting story, if a little unoriginal, but the problem comes late on in the film when the main character jumps from place to place and through time for reasons I could not understand.The cast are all strong actors but I was just too confused by the final 15 minutes to say I enjoyed this film.
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on 1 September 2008
I'm very surprised and embarassed to say that I hadn't heard of this film before I happened to glance it on the dvd store's shelf. What a treat I was in for. I have devoured a great many japanese horror films before and to be honest had assumed this would simply be in the same vein of thought as the others. It was not. It was atmospheric, spooky, exciting and strangly poignant. Not so much a ghost story but a story of chance and change and the choices that people make.
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2007
This is a good/average horror from asia.I am a big asia film fan but i must say that i thought that there was'nt enough horror for my liking but saying that it is a good thriller.I say that because there are a couple of jumpy bits but i could not call this an out and out horror,so maybe i should say its a suspense type of film.All in all a good film but not in the league of ring or the grudge.
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on 26 February 2011
Before purchasing a film from here I always try and read a selection of reviews to give me some idea of the content and I noted that this film seems to have produced a bit of a split with some people loving it and others hating it.

I am certainly a member of the former group. As I have said before in a previous review not every film coming out of Japan/ Asia has to be a masterpiece, although I sense many people expect that these days. I also feel that many people are confused nowadays about what a horror film is. Don't get me wrong I love a good gory film when I'm in the mood but I also like films that have more substance and require a bit of mental aptitude to decipher. Not every Horror film has to have full on gore and monsters. Sometimes what you can't see or understand is way more Horrific!

'Premonition' is a well made and tense film that certainly makes you think. Not everything has to make sense as long as you've enjoyed the journey, although I do feel this film comes to a very satisfactory ending.

Some reviews have stated that it's a story about 'a scary newspaper' although if you watch the extras you'll learn that it is based on a very well known ghost story in Japan. Whilst I love 'The Ring' trilogy and 'The Grudge films I for one am quite happy that the evil is not another girl with lank dark hair covering her face and making chattering noises. That scenario is now starting to wear a little thin.

Other reviews have also stated that the lead Male Character overacts, although had I been through what he does in the opening 10 minutes of the film I would probably be the same, which certainly makes me think that perhaps Parents would find this film more disturbing than people with no kids (Just a thought).

Overall I think this film is fantastic and there also also a fairly good selection of extras. I found the one about special effects particularly interesting although too short.

Personally I'm happy to have this in my collection and would recommend it highly to anyone, unless of course you think horror films have to have monsters or serial killers who dispatch endless amounts of dim witted teenagers!!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 February 2009
My partner did express some disquiet about the quality of the acting in this film within the opening 10 minutes but unfortunately I did not heed her warning and we watched the blessed thing until the end.
It's quite a dishonest film in a way because certain irrelevant and unrelated parts seem to be contained within the film just so it can be marketed as a 'J-horror' It's 18 rating is entirely baffling; I can recall one daft scene depicting a girl without a face, just a hollow gap where one should be which looked rubbish but nothing else, including this, which could have justified the 18 rating.
Ok, a man finds a newspaper which predicts the death of his daughter which then happens as he has read minutes later. He is haunted by this newspaper and his failure to prevent her death. Some years later he starts receiving other newspapers which predict various other deaths and discovers other like minded souls who have received these glimpses into the future also, most if not all of them dead also.
I sometimes like to pick out a specific scene for further derision so here's one. In the course of his research the 'prophet' goes to a psychiatric hospital where a doctor tells him of a 13 year old patient they had who experienced similar episodes who, according to photos the doctor showed, aged by 60 years in 2 weeks. The doctor described how he first filled up an entire book with his predictions, then wrote on the walls when that was full. The staff removed his pen so he scratched his predictions on the walls with his nails and also used bodily fluids. Then the kid bit off his tongue and used the blood until he finally expired by bleeding to death!! I bet the staff were just kicking themselves that they hadn't thought to give him another book to write in before the tongue and loss of blood business happened. This was not spooky it was just laughably ridiculous.
This tale was only in the film so later on during an 'episode' the star of the film could materialise back in time in the boys cell and see this bald straitjacketed figure writhing across the floor spitting blood.
There was another man who made predictions who kept a video diary of himself. For some unaccountable reason he started turning dark grey/black. Of course none of any of this was ever explained either.
Premonition is very slow moving and uneventful. If you only watched the first and last 10 minutes you would capture the essence of this film perfectly and probably have seen the best bits as well. There was quite a lot of padding and filler in this, it was more like a short story with lots of lingering moody behaviour.
I was considering giving this two stars but it really bored me so no more Mr nice guy! Again, I wasn't interested enough to join the dots, it was wholly unsatisfying.
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on 8 February 2014
Wasn't too keen on this one. I'd bought it as the story sounded interesting and it had decent enough reviews. However even though it started out pretty good I just couldn't get into it. Below average story and wouldn't even be classed as a horror in my books.
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on 18 August 2008
Premonition is a run of the mill horror film. In a nutshell it's is about a spooky newspaper that appears to people and informs them of some future tragedy. Whatever they choose to do with that knowledge, they are doomed. The newspaper is basically a curse. It's an interesting enough premise but unfortunately very badly though out. There are just too many ideas that don't tie together in this movie. It's impossible to make sense of such nonsense.

Premonition has little else to offer. The acting is a bit iffy, particularly from the lead actor who overdoes it a bit. The scares are a cheap afterthought seemingly tacked on to the film in order to attract the large J-Horror following. Regardless if you are a fan of this genre you should avoid this film. Don't let the creepy DVD cover fool you; it's a seemingly random image with very little to do with the film. Interestingly the Japanese cover is entirely different.
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