February 12, 2008

Watercolors (1996 story)

Written by Koji Suzuki.

As with many Suzuki stories, we open with a realistically described little piece of Japan. In this case, a former S&M disco where a small theatre troupe is staging a play. And also like many of his previous parables, Suzuki populates it with morally grey, everyday people. Our main focus today is on the overbearing director and his disgruntled sound technician, both of whom have the hots for the leading lady. It's mainly a bit of throw-away melodrama which Suzuki would rework to slightly better effect in his Ring related short, Lemon Heart.

It's not long before dripping water interrupts the show and Yuichi Kamiya (the aforementioned sound technician) rushes up to find the source. As usual (notice a theme here?) Suzuki's realistic tale of everyday Japan gives way to a poorly thought-out ghost attack. At least this one is a little trippier, a tad more bizarre than usual.

Sadly, though, we come to the big twist ending. It's an interesting idea, but the execution leaves it feeling like a cheat. Through the device of newspaper articles, Suzuki tries to add an extra dimension to the proceedings, but their writing comes off like a heavy-handed way for him to pat himself on the back for cleverness and lay out in full detail what the story is supposed to mean.

It's an interesting failure, but a failure nonetheless.

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