October 16, 2021

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The Grudge Series Creator Is Back With More Curses and Nightmares in Howling Village

An ominous scene from Howling Village.Image: DreadFilmmaker Takashi Shimizu is probably best-known for creating the Ju-On: The Grudge franchise back in the early 2000s; it became a sensation in Japan and was one of the top titles, along with The Ring, to emerge from that era’s Asian horror boom. Shimizu brought extra authenticity to the 2004…

An ominous scene from Howling Village.

An ominous scene from Howling Village.
Image: Dread

Filmmaker Takashi Shimizu is probably best-known for creating the Ju-On: The Grudge franchise back in the early 2000s; it became a sensation in Japan and was one of the top titles, along with The Ring, to emerge from that era’s Asian horror boom. Shimizu brought extra authenticity to the 2004 Sam Raimi-produced American remake by directing it himself; he also directed its 2006 sequel.

The trailer for his latest, Howling Village, suggests very strongly that the horror master has not lost his touch (and with a title like Howling Village, it’s no surprise it looks like an absolute nail-biter). Check it out!

There are some throwbacks in that trailer. For one thing, there’s definitely a Grudge echo in that creaky, creepy ghost noise, and also what seems to be a hefty dose of The Grudge’s “oh you went to this cursed place and came back not OK, guess I better go check it out for myself!” plot. But few filmmakers can do very, very bad places like Shimizu—and Howling Village definitely fits the bill, hopefully (like The Grudge before it) emphasizing dread and suspense even more than jump scares, though it looks like those will also abound.

Here’s the official synopsis: “After her brother goes missing, Kanade, a young psychologist, visits his last known location, an infamous haunted and cursed site known as ‘Howling Village,’ to investigate his disappearance. Her investigation reveals that the village’s mysteries are connected to her family and works to uncover her family’s dark history.”

Directed and co-written (with Daisuke Hosaka) by Shimizu, Howling Village stars Ayaka Miyoshi, Ryota Bando, Megumi Okina, and Renji Ishibashi. It arrives in select theaters August 13, then heads to On Demand on August 17 and Blu-ray on September 14.

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