Synopsis Yuichi Sato's Japanese horror film Pray opens with two down-and-outers, the conniving Mitsuru (Tetsuji Tamayama) and ruthless Maki (Asami Mizukawa), who -- desperate for money -- abduct a young girl and hole up in a defunct schoolhouse until her guardians pay up. The only problem: their victim is actually a victimizer -- the knife-wielding spirit of a child who died exactly one year ago and, obsessed with vengeance, will stop at nothing to drive her captors into their graves. Kouko Mori, Sanae Miyata, and Fumiyo Kohinata co-star. ~ Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide
My first J-Horror film. A lot of the plot apparently happens off-screen and you'll just have to accept that at some point during the movie certain twists will make sense. I liked the opening very much - it sort of plops you right into the middle of the kidnapping rather than setting it up.
There are some elements that just seem film-school to me, such as changes in film stock with the flashbacks...if that's what they are. No spoilers, here.
The lead actor is bishonen enough to pull you through the plot holes, although the overall histrionic acting style may be a bit distracting.
Mysterious, unexplained (until much later) phone calls and the sudden appearance of a trio of not-very-menacing goofballs channeling A Clockwork Orange's Dim, Georgie and Pete add to the confusion (which does get unraveled, whether satisfactorily you be the judge) and a subplot involving a fortune teller and a couple's search for their missing daughter is either deeply meaningful or a cheap devise to wrap it all up.
I did like the twists, and the final shot still has me wondering what it meant.
I may even rent it again much later and see if it grew on me.
A bonus - the trailer for Lady Vengeance is irresistable and worthy of several viewings.