TAKASHI Shimizu is one of the most successful Japanese directors, noted for his horror films. He is best known for “Ju-On” whose English title is “The Grudge”. It was a blockbuster hit in 2002 and became number one in the U.S., so it had spawned a sequel.
It was even remade in Hollywood in 2004 starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. His last film, “Suicide Forest Village”, was shown in 2021. He now comes up with a new scary flick, “Immersion”.
The movie is about a talented neuro scientist, Tomoniko Kataoka (Daigo Nishihata), who has chosen to live in a remote island to join a unique neighborhood called the New World.
His team is there to investigate the connections between virtual reality technology and neuro science. But what begins as an encouraging and auspicious scientific project takes on a mysterious and very sinister turn.
While creating a replica of the island, his crew encounters a disturbing glitch with the appearance of a strange and enigmatic woman in red. Soon after that, the waters in the island becomes red, like it’s covered with blood.
And the island is also plagued by an unexplainable series of brutal deaths by drowning. The strange occurrences involved the people who are working in the virtual reality company of Tomoniko.
This prompts the company’s team to challenge their usual beliefs grounded in science by understanding the island’s deep rooted shamanic superstitious beliefs that involve a strange curse hiding beneath the ocean’s surface.
They conduct their own research about the horrible secrets that the island keeps. There are two strands of past stories. First is about a former female slave, Imajo, who is raped by her owner. Then the owner’s wife, with her henchmen, tortured her and drowned her. It is Imago who has put a curse on the island.
The other story concerns an old man, Shigei. As a young man, he discovers his father with another woman and his own mother then seduced all the men in the island. The people in the island ostracized the boy for being the son of a slut and he grew up a loner, distant from the people who make fun of him.
The film is about the engrossing tension between modern technology and its clash with puzzling ancient ghost stories. Shimizu skillfully mixes contemporary digital technology with the supernatural presence of a vengeful female ghost.
The climax where Tomoniko and his people join hands to fight the ghost and put an end to its curse is staged quite excitingly. A terrifying cinematic experience that will push you to the edge of your seat, it’s a guaranteed spine-tingling journey to the nether world where the lines dividing reality from nightmares get blurred, with the living frighteningly haunted by spooky spirits from the past.