[Movie Review] Best Wishes to All 《祝大家幸福》: A Chilling Dive into Familial Horrors - Alvinology

[Movie Review] Best Wishes to All 《祝大家幸福》: A Chilling Dive into Familial Horrors

In Yuta Shimotsu’s directorial debut, Best Wishes to All, horror takes on an unsettling, yet intriguing form as the protagonist, portrayed by Kotone Furukawa, is plunged into a nightmarish world within the confines of her hometown. Produced by renowned horror maestro Takashi Shimizu, creator of the globally renowned Ju-On franchise, this film transcends the conventional jump scares to deliver a narrative steeped in bizarre occurrences and psychological tension.

[Movie Review] Best Wishes to All 《祝大家幸福》: A Chilling Dive into Familial Horrors - Alvinology

The story follows a young nursing student, returning to her countryside home from Tokyo, only to find herself engulfed in a series of inexplicable events. Furukawa’s portrayal of the protagonist captures both vulnerability and resilience, as she navigates through the eerie landscape of her past.

Furukawa has a lot of screen time in this movie and she carries the film along well, skillfully portraying the lead character’s rapid descent to fit into the bizzare world she was thrown into.

[Movie Review] Best Wishes to All 《祝大家幸福》: A Chilling Dive into Familial Horrors - Alvinology
Kotone Furukawa in Best Wishes to All

While Shimotsu adeptly creates an atmosphere of dread with subtle gestures and haunting visuals, the screenplay leaves some narrative gaps that hinder the film’s overall coherence. We won’t go into details so as not to give away spoilers, but quite a few of the bizarre scenes were unaccounted for. Despite this, Furukawa’s performance shines, anchoring the film amidst its surreal backdrop.

As the protagonist delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding her family home, she encounters a cast of characters whose seemingly normal facades mask darker intentions. The film’s exploration of themes such as societal exploitation and psychological trauma adds layers of complexity to its narrative, albeit with occasional lapses in clarity.

Best Wishes to All ventures into familiar horror tropes, yet offers a fresh perspective through its distinct Japanese setting and cultural nuances. The cinematography beautifully captures the idyllic countryside, juxtaposed with the underlying sense of unease that permeates the story.

While the film’s pacing may deter some viewers, its commitment to crafting a chilling atmosphere remains commendable. Overall, Best Wishes to All marks a promising debut for director Yuta Shimotsu and heralds a new wave of Japanese horror cinema.

This film will work best for those who like weird, bizarre narratives that are non-mainstream, even for the horror genre. We left the cinema with many question marks hanging in our heads that made for great conversations after to decipher them together.

Best Wishes to All 《祝大家幸福》is rated NC16 in Singapore and is now showing in Singapore cinemas, with both English and Mandarin subtitles.

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