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Akumu tantei 2
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10 from votes
Release: 20 December 2008 (Japan) /

Akumu tantei 2

Genre: Drama, Horror
Director: Hisakatsu Kuroki,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Still haunted by his unwanted abilities, which allow him to enter other people's dreams, and memories of his mother dying when he was a child, Kyoichi Kagenuma (Ryuhei Matsuda) contemplates suicide while slowly drowning in his world of misery. Yukie Mashiro (Yui Miura), having heard rumors about Kagenuma's extraordinary abilities, visits his home to beg for his help. She tells him she suffers from nightly nightmares that are getting scarier. The murderous ghost in the dreams has already killed two of her friends. She's afraid she's the next to die and believes only Kagenuma can save her. Kagenuma ignores her pleas for help, but Yukie, refusing to give up, returns every day to change his mind. Kagenuma finally decides to take on Yukie's case to understand the circumstances of his mother's death. It, however, demands from Kagenuma more than he expected to give while it leads him into the darkest corners of dream scape. Written by MaLynn

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Critic Reviews

Be it as it may be, I think I've grown into being a Shinya Tsukamoto fan-boy over the years. I simply haven't seen one bad film by the man yet. And fans of Asian cinema will most likely concur with me on this. While his older, more outrageous films are just as shocking as they are fun, his later work developed into more thought-provoking, equally disturbing at times, fantastic cinema. You don't even have to like his films, but the least anyone can say is that they are intriguing and interesting.

In 2008 Tsukamoto presented us with NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE (aka AKUMU TANTEI), introducing an unlikely hero in the form of Kyoichi Kagenuma (Ryuhei Matsuda), a troubled young man who has the ability of entering other people's dreams, or in this case nightmares. While the first NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE was a solid supernatural serial killer/slasher entry, this sequel is injected with a completely new storyline, resulting on the one hand in a slightly gentler film and on the other: An even more discomforting picture on a psychological level.

Ryuhei Matsuda reprises his role as the Nightmare Detective, but this time his character feels much more tormented. While filling his days with trying to understand personal demons from the past and contemplating thoughts of suicide to end this dubious ability he has been gifted with, his life will take another meaningful turn when he is contacted by Yukie. She and her friends once played a cruel joke on a fellow student, Kikukawa, and now she is plagued by horrible nightmares in which her friends die one by one. When her friends start dying of unnatural causes in real life, Yukie fears she'll be next.

In my opinion, NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE 2 surpasses it's predecessor on almost all levels. For one thing, though the film has a slightly more poetic feel to it (as opposed to the dark and chaotic nature of the original), it's laden with depression and grief, adding a foreboding atmosphere that grows stronger as the film progresses. While the first film had a more straightforward plot (albeit still following Tsukamoto's puzzling logic at times), now the story features a well-balanced duality. When Kyoichi starts to learn more about the origin of Yukie's nightmares, he discovers parallels with his own past which will eventually lead to more discoveries concerning the mystery of his own, cursed persona.

AMUKU TANTEI 2 is all about unexplainable things that inflict sheer terror on human beings and how they leave victims psychologically devastated. It is as much a true horror film as it is a psychological drama. Rest assured, certain scenes do get scary at times, though expect a bit more subtlety this time. Don't expect things clearly spelled out for you either, but more a visual language that explains things to a satisfying degree. Through Kyoichi's character Tsukamoto successfully tries to define the nature of terror – or at least providing one specific insight to it for Kyoichi – and it surprisingly results in a film that's far more sophisticated than anyone could expect from a sequel.

NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE 2 can actually be viewed as a stand alone film (due to the new storyline), however, watching the original first is always advisable (if only it was to better understand the weight of Matsuda's character). And for once I'd love to see another sequel made (only with Shinya Tsukamoto at the helm, of course). Kyoichi Kagenuma is by far one of the most original and intriguing anti-hero characters I've seen coming out of Asian cinema over the last few years. The possibilities of developing his character seem limitless, and with this second film being very different in tone, I'm most interested in seeing what a third film would bring us. Maybe a Nightmare Detective Trilogy would be a nice way to wrap things up?

(from the Cult Reviews vault, with kind permission)

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