Director – Norio Tsuruta
Cast – Daniel Gillies, Yoshino Kimura, Ryo Ishibashi, Miho Ninagawa, Tom Irvine
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I will be honest right now, I am not very familiar with director Norio Tsurata’s work. Aside from Ringu 0: Basudei, I have never heard of any of this other films. I did, however, look him up and from what I have studied it seems the guy manages to show glimpses of genius at times in his other films. Nonetheless, the guy has made his career in this genre and that seems what ultimately led to his inclusion in this series. While I always enjoy a nice Asian ghost story, it only gets cooler when it involves a claustrophobic atmosphere such as being in a boat, far from land, and in the middle of the ocean. Storyline alone, this one had me interested.
“Dream Cruise” stars Daniel Gillies as Jack Miller, a young lawyer who suffered a horrible accident as a child that lead to his brother’s drowning death. Jack is handing legal matters for his good friend Eiji Saito(Ryo Ishibashi), and during this work he has fallen for Eiji’s wife Naomi(Miho Ninagawa), who has subsequently fallen for Jack as well. When Eiji asks Jack to accompany him and his wife on a little boat ride into the ocean to discuss certain legal matters, Jack is hesitant due to his fear of the water…but accepts. What seems like a friendly joy ride turns sinister when Eiji brings up his wife’s adulterous affair with his friend and lawyer, a secret Jack and Eiji thought they had covered. This proves to be the least of their problems though, as another secret from the past manifests itself and puts all of their lives in danger.
Oh J-Horror, you always give me the same story, yet somehow I still manage to find a way to enjoy them. If you have not guessed what the twist/manifested secret is by now(some of you really can if you know your J-Horror), you will not be surprised when it kicks in during the latter half of the film. These stories tend to always have the same core supernatural elements in each film, and if you are a fan of ghosts like I am you can find some appreciation for this. As I mentioned earlier, I love that this story took place on a boat in the middle of the ocean because I have always been a ran of “nowhere to run” atmospheres. This is of course intensified by the fact that Jack has a severe phobia of being in the water after the traumatizing event we witnessed as a child, an event that still haunts him to the day. Story-wise this is the usual J-Horror plot, but with some nice elements that I found myself enjoying.
Norio Tsurata’s direction is well done and managed to give me at least one creepy scene that I can think of. If I told you it involved a decaying girl with long, straight black hair that covers most of her face would you get mad? Well…that is the case, and I will stop there. We get some crappy CGI ghost work a few times but overall I was impressed with a few scenes involving the restroom. Bravo to the production team for making that happen the way it did. Watch and you will see.
Overall, this is an OK watch that is sure to only please fans of J-Horror or those who scare easily to the usual J-Horror scares. Those of you uninterested in J-Horror should naturally stay away from this one. Thankfully, this common plot came with some nice elements and a great atmosphere that helped me enjoy it and find it to be a decent watch.
– I ranked this film #22 of the 26 entries in my Ranking the “Masters of Horror” Entries post.