starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day
screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro
directed by Guillermo del Toro
by Walter Chaw I have this theory that the reason the United States started remaking Japanese movies (particularly the J-Horror stuff) almost immediately post-9/11 is that it was after that pivotal event that the country assumed a distinctly Japanese worldview. Suddenly, it was possible for something unthinkable to happen to civilians; the universe was callous and arbitrary in its measuring out of lives, and the idea of a "civilian target" or, more to the point, of "innocence," was hopelessly quaint. It's as good an explanation as any as to why there are so many evil children in Japanese horror--the same explanation, as it happens, for why there were so many evil children in late-'60s/early-'70s American horror--the difference being that there was usually an explanation for why the children were bad in the United States (the Devil, mostly). In Japan? Not so much. In America's post-9/11 evil-kid flicks, even the ones not remaking Japanese films, the kids are generally just born that way. Even the rise of "torture porn" is more or less a not-as-graphic reproduction of Japan's "Guinea Pig" cinema--seven pictures from the '80s (including the indescribable Mermaid in a Manhole and Flower of Flesh & Blood, which caused a credulous Charlie Sheen to call the FBI), culminating now in the United States with a pretty rough update of Maniac starring everybody's favourite probably-murderer, Elijah Wood.