Director: Kaneto Shindo
Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Sato
Storyline: A mother (Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) are living in the swamp during the 14th century war. They are being haunted by the presence of an oni like demon.
Review: A mother and her daughter in-law live in the swamp during the 14th century war in Japan. They kill and sell off equipment and belongings from ambushed warriors and they sell them to a greedy merchant. Through time the mother mistrusts her daughter in-law as she becomes a lover of a deserter (Kei Sato). This leads to the mother to wear a samurai oni mask and haunt them in the dark swamp. The revenge goes too far and the demon like mask over takes the older woman jealously and soul.
The film is beautifully shot in black and white for its time period. The film is clear and the acting is right to the point. In fear of survival we lean towards our human needs such as food, shelter and sex. The movie focuses mostly on the three main characters and the growing conflict between the older mother and her daughter in-law can be expressed in mood not speech. Sure the whole point of the oni mask and how it over takes her and she can no longer remove it does not come till towards the end but the mood and cast build up to that.
Rating: This is a great work of art when it comes to film. Some may argue that it is not horror but the mood alone and the mask of the oni demon is enough in my books to make it a dark film.