Having been a fan of director Higuchinsky's
Uzumaki, I was quite eager to see Long Dream. Based, as was Uzumaki,
on the work of Junji Ito, Long Dream is a made for TV movie, but don't
let that put you off, that was made in the same year as Uzumaki and
is equally as surreal.
Without giving too much away about the
plot, as I wouldn't want to spoil your enjoyment, the movie is set primarily
in a hospital. Here we join Mami, a young girl that has a benign tumor,
who one night is hysterical as she believes Death is coming for her
when someone, or something, eneters her room. Of course, it isn't Death,
it is actually a patient of Dr Kuroda, who we learn is suffering from
Long Dreams. Initially in these dreams a few days pass during the course
of one night. These dreams however get longer and longer until it is
years that are passing, all in the course of the one night.
Now, at first Dr Kuroda believes that
the patient is lying to him about his dreams. This belief changes though
when a physical and mental change come over the patient. He is forgetting
more and more about reality and is, what I can only describe as, evolving
into something that is far from human.
His dreams are affecting his perception
of what is, and what isn't, real. Events that he "lives" through
in his dreams are being confused with what is actually real; hence his
ending up in Mami's room, he believes that the two of them have been
married for many years. Dr Kuroda, who intially is trying to help his
patient, soon sets about with his own agenda.
Long Dream is a thoroughly hypnotic
and incredibly surreal tale, as you might expect from the director of
Uzumaki. This being made for TV though, as it was, doesn't quite have
the visual impact of Uzumaki. The budget seems to have been much lower,
and this shows on screen. Not that this takes anything away from the
movie itself though, as it is still thoroughly engaging. Once you get
past some of the dodgy make-up, that is in all honesty fairly laughable,
you will find yourself a twisted and incredibly surreal tale.
This is not your average run-of-the-mill
Japanese horror movie, there are no long-haired ghosties, no, this a
far more cerebral kind of flick in more ways than one. Just the idea
of the long dreams is scary enough, it really does ask where the lines
of reality and dreams blur into each other. Which one is the reality
for the patient?
If you liked Uzumaki, maybe the early
movies of David Lynch or fellow Japanese director Shinya (Tetsuo) Tsukamoto,
then you will get a kick out of this. However, if you like your movies
a little more straight-forward then i'm afraid this may be a little
lost on you, as it certainly isn't going to appeal to everyone. For
me, I thought it was a quite terrific movie, one which could have benefited
from a slightly larger budget, to help rectify some of the make-up,
and a slightly longer running time, it only runs to 59 minutes. Nonetheless,
Long Dream is a quite original and disturbing movie that is well worth
checking out. Another score for Tipepoint Pictures.