Every once and a while I see a horror film for the first time and get completely blow away by it. Sadly that happens less and less no a days. First because I have seen most everything out there, and second new films are not always that original anymore. Japanese horror films are a thing of beauty all to themselves. They range from on e extreme to the other. One could be a gross out splatter fest, the next could be pure phycological terror. The film I am reviewing here is the later. Released in 1999 the film is titled Gemini. I can honestly say not only had I never saw it, but I never even heard of it for that matter. But after sitting there watching it, I need to make sure you don’t let this one pass you by.
Gemini focuses on a successful doctor named Yukio. His father was a very successful and famous doctor who specialized in treating plague survivors and victims. See this is set in 1910 Tokyo, in a poverty stricken area. Yukio was a very famous and heavily decorated military doctor but has returned to take over his fathers thriving practice. He lives with his parents and wife in a huge mansion. His parents do not care for his wife Rin, as she suffers from amnesia and believe she may just be after the family’s money. Yukio found her by a river, alone, and seemingly lost and fell in love with her. Taking her in and marrying her in the process. Now Yukio may seem like a great guy but he’s actually a dick, in fact most of the patients he treats cannot stand him. He tends to look down on people suffering from the plague in the poverty area of the city. If it were up to him he would only treat and socialize with rich clientele. Still everything is going great for him until the mansion starts to stink.
The family first notices the strange foul smell one evening and it turns out some sort of vagrant stalking around. Covered in rags, and filthy, he soon encounters Yukio’s dad and murders him. Of course the mom finds out and blames Rin again saying she is after the inheritance. But that doesn’t really matter as soon the mom turns up dead. It turns out that this is the work of Yukio’s twin, a man named Sutekichi. He ends up getting the drop on Yukio and traps him in an old abandoned well. He cleans up and basically takes over his life. And by that I mean not only the practice, but he becomes Rin’s new husband and lover as well. TO make it worse he does kill Yukio, he just keeps him trapped in the old well so he can taunt him.
This is a very well made film. It runs a very short time as well, under 90min. Masahiro Motoki is absolutely amazing playing the dule part of Yukio and Sutekichi. A stuck up doctor in one scenes, and crazed villain in the next. He gives a performance that should have netted him multiple awards to say the least. The setting provides an excellent backdrop, and the score is fantastic. Not a haunting weird horror score, more of a period piece that helps everything flow together. This is an incredibly well paced and acted film. Shinya Tsukamoto did a fantastic job of directing this one. Its very different from his Tetsuo films which are now horror classics.
Mondo Macabro has done a terrific job in terms of the transfer. The audio and video is amazing. As I said I loved the score, and it sounds crisp and clear coming from your surround sound. The picture looks great as well. Never to blue or dark, everything looks fantastic. This is the first time ever this film has gotten a Blu-ray release and it is stunning. They even included special features.
HD transfer from film negative
“Making of Gemini” featurette directed by Takashi Miike (15 minutes)
Venice Film Festival premier featurette (17 minutes)
Make-up demonstration featurette (6 minutes)
Behind the Scenes (seven episodes, 20 minutes)
This is a must see for fans of thrillers and psychological horror films. Its one of the best films I have seen in a long time. It is definitely one to add to your collection. Get this ordered today.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!