Monday, 23 February 2015


It's been twelve years since Hideo Nakata (Ringu) made a good movie. He came close a time or two, but the last decade has seen him dip his toes in unfamiliar waters, with uneven and increasingly underwhelming results. Ringu and Dark Water were memorable urban horror movies, and The Complex is a return to traditional horror roots. 

It's been a long time coming, and we've had to endure a lot of Asian ghost stories in the time that has passed, but The Complex is a welcome return to form for Nakata, and like an old friend who's come home to visit, it feels both familiar and strangely satisfying.

Nursing student Asuka (Atsuko Maeda) has just moved into an apartment complex with her parents and younger brother. On the first night in her new room, she is awoken by a strange scratching sound coming from her neighbours apartment, a reclusive old man who has refused any attempts at communication. Concerned over his well being, Asuka enters his home and opens the door to the horror within.

The Complex sits comfortably alongside earlier successes, Ringu and Dark Water. The unease, the decay, the rundown apartment complex, any of this sound familiar to you? The similarities are endless, but for some reason, the LHGF (lank haired ghost fatigue) has all but withered away. For me at least, the big reveals, the troubled pasts and the creepy kids tasted more like comfort 
food. A break can do you good it would seem.

I've missed this side of Hideo Nakata, and while The Complex offers nothing new, it is his most effective work in years. With twists, turns, strong performances and slow-burning dread, The Complex is a surprisingly satisfying night in that almost gets away with its absurd ending. Almost.

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