Director – Jason Cuadrado
Cast – Hiro Abe, Toshiya Agata, Mari Endo, Evan Himes, Kei Hirayama, Hidetoshi Imura, Eiji Inoue, Kie Ito, Leni Ito, Kiyoko Kamei, Sachiyo Kanbayashi, Makiko Konishi, Masami Kosaka, Yumi Mizui, Mark Ofuji
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
My everlasting love for horror anthologies got me on this one, as I once again took a shot at a very low-budget horror anthology that I had never heard of but figured “Why not?”, and left with less than satisfying results. Tales From The Dead is unique in its own right in that it is an American production that stars Japanese actors speaking only Japanese. However this unique quality was not enough to keep this from being an un-enjoyable watch.
Tales From The Dead follows Tamika, a spiritual medium who has had many first hand looks into how the dead coordinate with the living. Late one night a woman found not guilty of killer her husband suffers car problems and hitches a ride from Tamika, and their general discussion soon leads to Tamika speaking of her experiences with the dead, and with sinister intentions.
This flick did have much potential, and it seems its very low-budget kept it from being anything special. The storyline’s four individual stories are quite unique and focus heavily on the agonies of the living and how they pass on to the “other side” after death. I can honestly say that I have not seen another horror anthology focus so much on death, afterlife, redemption, and deception, and I dug that. While the stories were cool and came with awesome elements the dialogue came in at borderline-positive at best, and was then supplemented negatively with less-than-favorable acting.
Direction-wise writer/director Jason Cuadrado could only do so much with so little, and unfortunately it shows. The visual tone is very grainy, and the audio is reminiscent of listening to the film while wearing earplugs. On a positive note the musical score is well done, and his camera-work is decent as well. We get no gore whatsoever in this flick but we do get some OK kills that came off better than expected for such a film, and I liked that.
Overall, this is just a film that suffers from a low-budget, end of story. The storyline is a cool one, but the direction and execution suffer greatly due to the many limitations this flick faces.