03rd Feb2014

‘The Complex’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Atsuko Maeda, Hiroki Narimiya, Masanobu Katsumura, Naomi Nishida, Kanau Tanaka | Written by Jun’ya Katô, Ryûta Miyake | Directed by Hideo Nakata


Hideo Nakata is well known in the horror world for his work, directing Ring, Ring 2 and Dark Water, among others, so it wasn’t unwelcome to see a new release from Nakata that sounded like it was along the lines of the films that made him so famous in the first place.

The Complex comes at a time when films like Ring and Dark Water are less frequent after a period, a few years ago, where the popularity of these originators caused many other ghost stories along similar lines to materialise until the marketplace felt a little saturated by them. I found myself, after taking a step or two back from the genre for a couple of years, feeling excited about this film.

The Complex tells the tale of a girl named Asuka (Atsuko Maeda) who, alongside her family, moves into a new apartment building. While there she begins to hear rumours that the complex is haunted, and then unexplainable things begin to occur. On paper this doesn’t sound unlike the wonderful and haunting Dark Water, but rest assured that while the similarities are existent, it offers plenty of differences too, and twists and turns along the way that are enough to keep you guessing and watching closely.

The thing that I feel like Nakata does really well is laying an atmosphere across a film and allowing the tension and haunting tone to grow as the film progresses. The use of music and changes in mood help create this. The Complex has a good atmosphere and feels really spooky at times. The use of imagery and a building of mystery are done quite well and while the film doesn’t reach the heights of Dark Water or Ring in terms of originality and pure horror, it is still a very capable horror movie that is entertaining throughout and builds to a very strong final act.

With nice cinematography, a wonderfully spooky atmosphere, a fitting score and performances that are natural and enjoyable, The Complex is a fine film, just not a special or groundbreaking one. Worth watching for sure, but not on par with what the director has proved to be capable of.

The Complex is available on DVD through Koch Media, now.


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