The Booth

"Very Good"

The Booth Review


Although The Booth is destined to be categorized as J-Horror, it's would be better tagged as "J-Twilight Zone." Free of the conventions of more typical Tokyo terror tales (there are no sopping wet long-haired little girl ghosts climbing out of television sets here), this tight 74-minute tale packs its punches with creepy Serlingesque twists and turns.

It all begins in a haunted broadcast booth in a Tokyo radio station. Thirty years early, an on-air personality heard weird voices and hanged himself right there in Studio 6. Now Shogo (Ryuta Sato), the annoyingly smug yet charming host of an overnight talk show called "Love Lines," is broadcasting out of the same studio. He kicks off with the topic of the evening, "unpardonable words that someone said to you," and waits for the calls to come in.

How weird, though, that the calls that come in are interrupted by extraneous noises and crosstalk, most of which repeats the word "liar" again. Shogo starts to notice that the situations described in the calls mirror certain ugly events in his past, which we see in several layers of flashbacks. Is someone playing a dirty trick on Shogo? Is the violent encounter with his co-worker/mistress that took place earlier in the day coming back to haunt him -- literally?

The pressure increases as the night wears on and we learn more about all the nasty things Shogo has said and done to just about everyone he knows and works with. But just when The Booth fakes with a left, it jabs with a right, coming at us with a whole new spin on things. To say more about it would spoil the fun. Rod Serling would be proud.

Writer/director Yoshihiro Nakamura, a thriller specialist, really cranks up the claustrophobia of the radio booth. It's small, dark, and cramped, and as the increasingly nervous Shogo chugs bottle after bottle of water, his urgent need to take a bathroom break only increases the, um, pressure. The Booth will really make you feel squeezed.

DVD Note: The "making of" featurette is worthy of your attention if only to watch the visibly nervous Sato proclaim again and again that he probably isn't good enough to be starring in this, his first leading role. His humility is refreshing, and the amazingly polite way the crew members treat each other is nothing short of remarkable. (Then again, that's the Japanese way.) Something tells me most Hollywood film sets don't generate this kind of gung-ho teamwork vibe.

Aka Bûsu.

Howard Stern's new look.



The Booth

Facts and Figures

Run time: 74 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 5th November 2005

Distributed by: Tartan

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura

Producer: Takeshi Moriya, Toshinori Nishimae

Starring: Ryuta Sato as Shogo

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