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Movie reactions/reviews

Zero Movie Opinion

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#1 OFFLINE   midwinter


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Posted 04 March 2015 - 09:03 AM

Since people are probably going to start getting their DVDs and Blu-Rays soon, I figured I'd put this topic up early. Will contain spoilers, so proceed at your own risk!


So, for people who have seen the movie, what did you think? Does it work well as a side-story to the Fatal Frame series, or will you be pretending it never happened? If you've read the novel, how does it compare? Has it affected your expectations for the Hollywood movie at all? How about the extras, what are they like?


Since I'm probably not going to get my copy till next week, if you've received yours, please consider posting spoilers as an act of charity to a less fortunate soul. :icon_blinded:

#2 OFFLINE   ナガクラ


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Posted 08 March 2015 - 03:09 AM

I hope the bad reviews I read from Yahoo Movies JP are like the Silent Hill fan base reactions to the movies of said series. I ordered the Blu Ray a few days ago so I shouldn't really be expecting it till like April but till then I'm staying away from this topic. I hope you guys like it... or hate it whichever way suits you I guess D:

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#3 OFFLINE   midwinter


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Posted 10 March 2015 - 05:24 PM

Okay, let's try this in a way that's not too disorganised.


Summary: As a movie, I think it's solidly decent, and I'd probably have enjoyed it in its own right. As an adaptation of Otsuka's novel, it's a masterpiece. "Adaptation" feels like the wrong word; it's more like a renovation. Somehow everything is recognisable, and yet everything is improved. I was actually worried from reading reviews that Asato had kept too much the same, but by the end everything hung together, and it worked.


If you have read the novel, let me reassure you now. There is no menstruation talk. There is no spongebath scene. There is no powerpoint exposition.


Getting onto the specifics, I think I'll attempt to divide this up into categories.



The characters are a resounding improvement. All of them feel real and human in a way they never did in the novel. They might be outsiders, or in a difficult stage of life, or suffering from confusing feelings, but there's none of the sense that I got from the novel of people drifting along as if watching it all through the lens of a camera, with a sense of vague disgust for everyone else frothing just under the surface. To me the novel was claustrophobically misanthropic as well as misogynistic, kind of like the whole thing was narrated by Taruho, but the movie was refreshingly kind to its characters. Mari Asato seems to have a much better grasp of what it's like to be a teenage girl than Eiji Otsuka, too. (I know, what a shocking revelation.)


For specifics... Mary was an odd woman, a little misplaced in the town, but not portrayed as desperate, pathetic or fake, and she doesn't have to give up her frilly clothes at the end. Likewise, Susumu is an odd kid, but there's not the same unpleasant friction between them as the book. Mayumi's feelings for Takashi are still clearly not quite right, but her concern for him is genuine, not purely selfish, and the weird incongruous axe-killer stuff is gone. Michi is my favourite, and the most changed - no eyepatch, no hatred for her parents and the idea of romance, no inconsistent psychic ability, and best of all, no obsession with menstruation - but I liked Aya very much too. She had a lot more agency, and the sense of her strength and determination really come across through her actions, rather than just someone telling us about it. In the book it seemed like she was getting pushed around like a pawn and objectified for 95% of the time, sometimes voluntarily (by allowing herself to be cursed), but in the movie nearly all of that is gone, and most of her actions originate with her own decisions.


Which brings me quite neatly to Karatsu and Makino. Take note, Otsuka, when most people say "cameo", this is what they mean. They show up for about two scenes, and although they help save Risa and move the plot along a little, they don't know everything. In the novel, nearly all of the relevant plot exposition comes through them or their mouthpiece Ritsuko (who's not even in the movie AFAIK); in the movie, hardly any of it does. Most of the cast have little pieces of the puzzle, and it all comes together in stages at the end, which feels much more balanced.


Story and Scares

Big big big improvements here. Again, the skeleton of the plot is the same, but a lot of fat is trimmed and a lot is simplified and makes more sense. Especially about the curse. As for scariness... I wouldn't call it scary. It's eerie in places, and there are a couple of points where Ayami Nakajo as the ghost really does seem spooky, but as that reviewer on Kotaku said, it's more about building a particular atmosphere than giving you nightmares. Personally I live for atmosphere, so I liked it, but I can see why people would feel let down.


Since it's quite a significant element in both novel and movie, I'll also say a bit about f/f relationships here. Sexual and gender politics in Japan is a big old complicated thing that I can't even begin to unpack, so I won't try, but I will say that even though there's less onscreen f/f in the movie, it felt a lot more respectful and a lot less voyeuristic. I think the biggest change was to yuukon. In the novel, it was a ritual for men and women, and the problems started when it got repurposed by schoolgirls expressing their confused adolescent feelings. In the movie, it was for women all along, women who were in love and felt they had no other choice. The events are much the same, but I think you'll agree the implications are different. As for further interpretation, I'll leave that to someone more qualified.



Not much to say here. The film was beautiful. The settings were perfect and used well, the casting was great, the camera work was lovely.


As a Fatal Frame movie?

I think the main thing a lot of people on this forum will be worried about is how it stacks up specifically as a movie with the Fatal Frame title. I think I'm going to have to qualify my thoughts on this a lot, because on the surface it's quite different, even more so than the novel. The novel did at least have a shrine (albeit one rebuilt in modern times), and the Camera Obscura actually appears less in the movie than it did in the novel. There are still no ghost fights, no ancient or abandoned buildings.


But to me it felt like the movie understood the themes of Fatal Frame far better than the novel. There's a sense of sympathy for the characters trapped in such difficult situations, and how for the most part their actions are driven by fear or desperation rather than mindless cruelty, even if they aren't the actions we ourselves would choose.


And there's a sense of history, even if it's only touched upon. The section I'm thinking of is when Aya and Michi visit Mary at her house, which is also a photo studio. She takes them to a room where all the yuukon photos are enshrined behind sacred rope, and several old cameras are on display. (This replaces the shrine and the Ophelia Album from the novel, and after my initial disappointment about the loss of the shrine, I like this better.) There's a flashback to the man we know as forearms taking a picture of two young women dressed in old-fashioned clothes. The women then kiss each other's photos and proceed to drown themselves in the lake. We never find out who Forearms is, or who the women were, or how this practice got started in the first place, but if you're a fan of the series, I think the gaps in our knowledge are much more suggestive than Makino telling us all about the history and origins of yuukon in a very matter-of-fact way. It really feels like this is a story that could take place on the fringes of the Fatal Frame universe, and it wouldn't take much to bring the two together in a more substantial way, which is all I really wanted.


But I won't lie, if you're looking for lots of camera folklore and exorcisms, you'll probably be disappointed on that score. The emphasis is all on interpersonal relationships.


To close, here are some random thoughts that didn't fit anywhere else:


  • Hooray for Aya getting her own memories back without any intervention from crossover characters!

  • Michi having actual friendships with people! I was really touched by her attempts to keep Risa from being spirited away, and her genuine distress over Kasumi's death.

  • I do wonder what would have happened if one of the cursed girls had managed to reach the water tank.

  • I think the only plot changes I slightly regretted were the ones to Mio Takaishi and the Headmistress. I quite liked Mio Takaishi's relentless vengeful rage, and the curse of immortality. But I can accept it, since it doesn't really fit the tone of the story the movie is telling, and I do like that the Headmistress is visibly upset, not "expressionless, as though nothing had happened", after she can't go through with suicide.

  • The cast are just the most charming girls and I hope they have wonderful careers ahead of them. But the breakout character was Background Duck.

  • Mari Asato for president.

Let's see how stupidly tl;dr this is.

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#4 OFFLINE   Emi



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Posted 13 March 2015 - 12:18 AM

Need to get my copy.. have to wait til next month at least. (money tight atm). @_@ But love to hear people's thoughts and comments!

#5 OFFLINE   Hex


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Posted 16 March 2015 - 06:21 PM

midwinter said it all perfectly, so I can only add to the praise with some slight gushing.  Beware spoilers.

  • I thought the 16mm film was used really well, almost every scene could be paused and look like a picture.  
  • Sound was used to good effect, which is part of Mari Asato's style I really enjoyed.  She draws your attention to details but never cheapens it by overly focusing on them, rather leaving you to wonder just who the hell is dragging their leg so loudly into frame or making you recline as the wailing music when Maya appears gets louder.
  • Maya's appearances are some of my favourite scenes.  Her movements are filmed and acted so differently from everyone else, it's like she's perpetually underwater.  Ayami Nakajo impressed me as Aya, but she shined as the ghost Jesus that descended on school girls and knocked them out with her Near Kiss™.
  • The acting deserves a mention, especially the two leads who were fairly inexperienced yet carried the film like they'd been doing it for ages.  Aoi and Ayami had great chemistry with each other, both as friends and romantically (the neeeear kissss).
  • Game references!  I think I counted a few, which I'll describe separately if anyone's curious, which is all I wanted.
  • Though everyone comes out of their Otsuka shell, my favourite character change might be Mary.  She's far less weird and unpleasant and more kind of funny, helpful to the girls and owns her own photo studio/shrine with about half a dozen Camera Obscuras and frilly dresses (we never see them but they're out there, somewhere ).  Her singing voice is also lovely.
  • The child actors were adorable, as were half the adult cast.  I wanted to pinch the Headmistress's cheeks every time she showed up.
  • Maya's transformation was beautifully done, I'd like to see the behind-the-scenes for that.  
  • I still think the camera design for the movie is awesome and should appear in the games at some point.
  • The ending was nice and so bitter sweet.  The near kiss, guysss.
  • Mari Asato truly is a god amongst men.  

As for possible game references, here's the ones I noticed, but if there's any I missed, let me know:


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#6 OFFLINE   Denver


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Posted 18 March 2015 - 12:53 PM

I have the movie here but I won't watch it until the English subtitles are released! Hopefully a kind soul will do it soon...

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#7 OFFLINE   GregZerO


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Posted 22 March 2015 - 01:20 AM

I just finished watching the movie and I wanted to share my opinion too.I watched it with english subtitles that some........times were helpful I guess but there were times that they were so,so bad...

with a friend that knows decent Japanese who made me the translation when the subs were nonsense.


I haven't read the novel so I can't really compare them but the story of the film was really interesting and well done.While the plot was moving slowly and sometimes it was comfusing it never made me feel tired.I don't remember a scene that was pointless.I liked that the way the story unfolds make u connect all the pieces together.My only complaint is that there was no real climax when the Big mystery was revealed,it was more like an inquisition,listening to the character explaining what happened there and stuff,it wasn't a bad way to reveal the mystery,but i kind of missed the climax that we see in the endings of the games.So overall the story was pretty damn good and as midwinter said it fits in the Fatal Frame universe but I kind of feel that the reveal of the mystery could be a little better.


I feel that the way they handled the Camera Obscure was the right one.As you already know there is no combat or something similar and we see the camera for like 10 minutes but as the film is,it fits perfect.It doesn't matter that it doesn't get much time on screen because the importance of it in the movie is huge.


The movie is not scary at all,maybe a little creepy at times but you wont need to hide under a blanket or hug anyone next to you cause of fear.Maybe you might want to hug someone next to you for other reasons  :thinking: especially if they are the same sex with you  :wub: . Jokes aside it is not scary,it's sad at times and there is some love story in it that is kind of touching which manages to pass some messages that if two people are in love no matter if they are boy n girl or same-sex you shouldn't seperate them  :( .


The directing was really well done,it drew you the attention and it made an already beautiful scenery even more beautiful.The actors were convincing,they did a good job.The sounds are realy good too and the ending song is cute.


Anyway to sum up it was really nice and it deserves to be called Fatal Frame.I am satisfied with this adaption and I am so happy that it didn't turn out to be shitty film.


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#8 OFFLINE   Denver


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Posted 27 March 2015 - 05:47 PM

[justify]Hey, guys! Sorry for taking so long to write a review, I was stuck with lots of tasks (one of them being an English-to-Portuguese translation of the subtitles)... Well, it's not as though someone is waiting anyway, lol! Please don't mind my bad grammar, I always have a hard time trying to express myself when I get to write things like this. Also keep in mind that I haven't read the novel so I can't compare the movie with it. Okay, enough babbling, here goes nothing! (My review contains spoilers, don't read it if you haven't watched the movie yet.)[/justify]


Edited by Denver, 28 March 2015 - 12:06 PM.

#9 OFFLINE   Rezz


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Posted 28 March 2015 - 02:45 AM

I just finished it a little bit ago, and I really don't have much to add except that I would totally vote for Mari Asato and whoever did the editing on the screenplay to get some kind of award, definitely. They took a ridiculous, bloated, overcomplicated story and streamlined it into something that made so much more sense, with special props to cutting out the Deus Ex Machina OC Inserts.


I was a little disappointed in Mary not busting in to smack the hell out of the Incest Murder Siblings like the BAMF she was in the books, but since they took the majority of the nonsensical side murder plot more or less out entirely, it fits 100% with the movie and I am totally okay with it.


Actually that they took the majority of the 'nonsensical side anything' out it makes the whole thing feel better.


Risa and Itsuki needed more screentime. Actually, it seems they cut down a bit of the cast anyway. There were dead girls in that last picture I barely remember ever seeing even at the beginning, haha.


Anyway, Mari Asato for president, and I'd give the movie a 'recommended', for just about anyone, really. No need to know anything about the series to get into it, you just have to like... what paranormal mystery is kind of what it really is as a genre, rather than horror.

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#10 OFFLINE   calne


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Posted 28 March 2015 - 05:45 PM

Overall I think it was a lot better from what I expected it to be - knowing japanese horror movies, seriously.
I kinda hoped there would've been more Camera Obscura though.
But hey, canon queer girls I have nothing to complain about.
Also I liked how you can easily link all of it to the fifth game's plot.

There was this one thing however, that totally made my day.


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hi i used to be beni kthxbye

#11 OFFLINE   NiksKozukata


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Posted 03 April 2015 - 06:04 AM

i Don't Like the movie at all its not my thing Girl to Girl relationship but sometimes i Like it haha the Plot twist though 

#12 OFFLINE   Sweetいも


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Posted 24 June 2015 - 06:55 AM

I had never read the book, so I was assuming a horror movie a bit like the game. I didn't like it because that's what I was expecting. Alone, it was fine. Nothing amazing to me, but I liked it. The ending was a nice surprise without it coming out of left field. But I just went in expecting Real Life lost village or something of that nature. It was a let down for me.

#13 OFFLINE   TomoChan


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Posted 21 July 2015 - 05:44 PM

I wasn't really expecting it to be just like the games. It was good! I liked all the little nods they did during the film to the games.

And I was also hoping that maybe:



#14 OFFLINE   Abicion


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Posted 16 August 2015 - 12:26 AM

"Love Ain't Easy" takes an... interesting direction for a Fatal Frame ending theme.

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OutRun 2019 soundtrack, help me.

#15 OFFLINE   ナガクラ


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Posted 17 August 2015 - 06:32 AM

"Love Ain't Easy" takes an... interesting direction for a Fatal Frame ending theme.

I wish we can move away from Amano's songs more often. Higanbana was a step forward as well as Love Aint Easy

Anti-Operation Zero

#16 OFFLINE   Abicion


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Posted 18 August 2015 - 11:21 PM

I kind of meant that sarcastically. imo Fatal Frame ending themes work best with the retro 80s rock Amano style. Love Ain't Easy sounds more like an ending theme for... Fatal Frame X-2. Or something.

OutRun 2019 soundtrack, help me.

#17 OFFLINE   rukadesu


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Posted 07 September 2015 - 10:21 AM

I saw the movie last night and I must say that I liked it. Although, I had expected it to be scarier than it was considering it is part of the Fatal Frame universe. Regardless, it was well worth my time and I may watch it again. 

#18 OFFLINE   Agony Crossbow

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 07:02 PM

I just finished watching the movie today. Honestly I was really surprised by it. I didn't expect to like it at all (some idiot told me it was all "fanservice"--I wonder if they confused it with that OTHER Fatal Frame "movie"  :rolleyes: ), but this movie was really well done in building an atmosphere, creating a rich, varied cast of characters, and in doing what the Fatal Frame games do best: creating sympathy and empathy, even for the people who do terrible things.


Beware! Spoilers:


  • The film was visually gorgeous. I loved the cinematography and the camera angles.
  • I LOVED THE OPHELIA MOTIF. I'm a huge Shakespeare nerd, AND an ever bigger Ophelia enthusiast. Seeing how it was used in the movie made me so happy and impressed, since one could argue the "curse" that affects only girls is, in a way, related to Ophelia's archetype. I'm pretty sure there's even a book that argues that point.
  • I gotta say, I was really surprised that Ms. Mary wasn't more angry by the confession at the end. I figured it had to do with how little she liked the school in general, but you'd think if the Mother Superior confesses to a murder, she'd want to say something about it to like, the cops. Also, I was raised Catholic, so I can't help but get a chuckle out of how the joke of nuns being evil and scary is present here. Good to see that belief thrives the world over.
  • The SOUND design in this was awesome! Every footstep sounded like it was echoing through a large, empty house, giving you the feeling that these girls were isolated and alone. It was a strangely suffocating feeling.
  • That ending  :(  While I'm glad the girls aren't suffering anymore, it makes me sad to think that Aya and Michi are going to go their own ways in life. I'm glad Michi got more serious about photography, but I can't help but feel like Aya didn't mature in any way. That's not to say that she's immature (she isn't), but she feels instead like she's retreated further inward. Or maybe it's just not yet time for her to grow? Her sister said she wished she could go on living now that she remembers what happened, so Aya decides to... stay behind in the town? I dunno. I guess I would need a few more lines of dialog to know just what Aya's plans actually are (is she going to work with Ms. Mary? Will she work with the school? I mean, the rumor of her curse is still spreading there, so you'd think she'd want to keep an eye on it). I can't complain too much, though. It was really a good movie, and that ending was bittersweet.


Overall, this is probably one of my favorite adaptation films. It's a great horror movie in that it's more emotional/atmospheric horror, without relying on jumpscares. There were even some moments where I was genuinely creeped out because I could FEEL the scare coming, but each time it did it slowly grew, instead of just... popping out all at once. It takes themes and emotional cues from the games and puts it into a movie, telling a story that can't help but resonate with the audience. It ties in thematically well to the fifth game, but it isn't without its nods to previous titles (Fatal Frame 2 seems to be the most obvious one). So really, I'm not sure what else I could've asked for.............. except maybe a possible sequel with Michi in Tokyo, photographing ghosts  :lol:

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Screw your zombie train, we're rollin'.

#19 OFFLINE   PikaLink91


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Posted 12 April 2018 - 09:12 AM

I am sad to have to say, that I was totally disappointed. I didn't know what TO expect, although I kept the infamous video game movie curse in mind, in that I by no means expected a masterpiece, but looking back at the Ace Attorney movie, I had gotten the notion that, unlike America, the Japanese actually knew how to handle their own IPs.

​Alas, this movie, to me at least, was Fatal Frame in name only. I don't care how little the actual camera appears, or whether or not there are any ghost fights, but the movie had none of the dread, atmosphere, or clever story that made the games so great.

The Fatal Frame games are all about the supernatural... afterall... we are dealing with ghosts. And while there is indeed some mysterious sh*t going on in this all-girls school with students disappearing, the plot-twist at the end is so f***ing stupid and disappointing. In the games, people would literally get spirited away. In this movie however, these "mysterious" disappearances, are merely one of the schools staff and her assistant, trying to cover up her tracks from 10 years ago, murdering anyone who comes too close to discovering her secret. When the credits rolled, I didn't feel like I had just watched a ghost story based on my favorite horror franchise, I felt I had just watch a Japanese Special of Midsommer Murders.


​It may be a faithful adaption of the novel, so I guess the two can go hand in hand into the sunrise... but as a Fatal Frame film, it fails on all accounts to me. Here's hoping for a better sequel.

.....it's raining again.....

#20 OFFLINE   GregZerO


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Posted 17 April 2018 - 10:44 PM

these "mysterious" disappearances, are merely one of the schools staff and her assistant, trying to cover up her tracks from 10 years ago, murdering anyone who comes too close to discovering her secret.


Edited by GregZerO, 17 April 2018 - 10:47 PM.



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