It’s time for us to turn to Japanese Found Footage in the form of a Will O The Wisp legend – Chichibu Demon. Not one of the more popular films in this genre but an interesting concept all the same…
Documentary Filming is Dangerous Stuff!
Again we are taught that filming some sort of documentary is either going to get you wiped out in a haunted asylum or sliced up in a dark forest!
But in all fairness – this Japanese offering is a lot more original than a majority of it’s counterparts.
We join a group of four fearless Japanese filmmakers as they look into supernatural phenomena and urban legends in the mountain area around the city of Chichibu…
A Japanese Plot
What I seem to find with a lot of Japanese horror films is that they tend to bore you at the time but afterwards you realize it was quite a deep story. This Will O The Wisp legend was no different really!
It was very slow paced and deliberate for about 90% of the film but this was largely down to the fact the story rocked!
We start off following the group into a motorway tunnel system in Chichibu as they search for a female ghost. But this is not just any female ghost – this babe can run as fast as the passing cars!
But the tunnel is basically no good – they are stuck on a sidewalk with cars flying past at the speed of light! No decent footage is going to be found here so they rethink their strategy.
They start badgering the locals as a way of finding out what other spooky encounters have been going on in the area. There are a few dead ends (like the the legend of a human-faced dog) before the group find one strange dude who point them towards a haunted suspension bridge over Chichibu Lake.
They are informed that this bridge is a favorite for people who are looking to top themselves. They go for a quick look (at night of course) and as luck would have it a guy is trying to kill himself as they arrive.
Not able to stop him they can only watch in terror as he flings himself off the bridge. Strange thing is he is looking up at the mountain in front of himself as he jumps…
It’s after this incident that really queer stuff starts happening to the film crew. During the suicide incident that night the crew’s assistant director sees strange lights in the direction the jumper is looking.
This is where the Will O The Wisp legend comes into play. It turns out the assistant director had also experienced these strange lights when he was a child on a picnic trip. The whole documentary starts to hone in on these incidents and the story takes a new turn…
Under The Radar
This film seems to have flown very much under the radar and I have been unable to find out who directed or produced it. I found out about it on a horror forum so I know it has it’s share of fans.
On top of that it’s pretty good – the actors are decent enough and the cinematography seems to work out pretty well for the duration. The whole thing looks and feels like a Found Footage film should.
This was a much deeper film than a lot of the American Found Footage offerings out there. I enjoyed the twists and turns but I did get a little bored of the pace about halfway through.
There are a lot of mysterious characters that enter the documentary and this helps keep things fresh!
In all it was just over an hour long which may seem a little short to some but it felt just right to me. Obviously it’s in subtitles but the version I watched was easy enough to follow (the English was good English!).
We’re not looking at another Paranormal Activity here or Blair Witch – it didn’t have the budget of Chronicle or the CGI of Cloverfield. It was definitely a low budget offering but it had a lot of original and interesting ideas in it.
To be honest it was better than a lot of Hollywood disgraces that have been bled into this genre.
Easily worth an hour of your time!