Carved – DVD Review

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Shiraishi Koji


Sato Eriko………Kyoko Yamashita
Kato Haruhiko………Noboru Matsuzaki
Mizuno Miki………Taeko Matsuzaki

DVD Release Date: August 14, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 90 Minutes

The Movie

Urban legends have been around for a long time and they are taken in different lights by those who here them. Some take them extremely lightly and consider them to be nothing more then falsehoods, myths. Choosing not to believe in such nonsense makes life easier for them, or perhaps deep down inside they believe it keeps them safe. For there are those who believe in them and never take them for granted because anything is possible and legends can become reality.

The Japanese town of Kanegawa has recently been experiencing a rash of children disappearing without any sign whatsoever. The townspeople see them as more then just kidnappings for the children are gone and no one ever sees or hears anything. It is then that the old tale of the slit-mouthed woman is brought to the forefront.

Kuchisake Onna, or better known as the slit-mouthed woman, is a horribly disfigured person that randomly appears in the town and kidnaps young children. Legend says that she wears a surgical mask in order to hide her incredibly disgusting face. She takes it upon herself to appear as she pleases, take the children, and make sure they are never heard from again.

The townspeople quickly do all they can in order to protect the remaining children. Teachers at the school take on the added responsibility of walking the students to and from school so an eye can be kept on them at all time. Two of the main teachers involved in all this are Mr. Noboru Matsuzaki and Ms. Kyoko Yamashita. Yamashita is especially closely involved with one student, Sasaki Mika who she believes is being abused by her mother at home. Yamashita has deep feelings for this situation since her own child was taken away some time ago due to abuse.

All of the craziness slows down a bit, but when the slit-mouthed woman appears before Yamashita, who is sure that the legend is true. The police aren’t willing to believe her though because they are searching for more solid evidence to apprehend a real suspect. But knowing what she saw was real, she enlists the help of Matsuzaki to figure out what is really going on. It is during their investigation though that many dark secrets about the legend and people she knows very well comes to her attention. This is not only quite shocking to her but could possibly put her in grave danger.

Carved is an interesting film that brings about a rather different story then your usual Japanese horror production. Instead of a random ghost or someone who was recently murdered showing up, there is a nice backstory to the slit-mouthed woman which makes it much more in depth. Hearing that she has been part of an old wives tale for so long gives her a much creepier aura about her then just being some girl accidentally hit by a car and left for dead or something.

Aside from that though, the film is very common place and something we’ve seen before on countless other DVDs. It is quite hard to be a rabid fan of J-horror because every single film has some similarity in characters, story, and mood. And sadly enough, it is usually all three. Yet as already mentioned, Carved does a nice job of introducing a ghost that has more to her then the normal long-haired, slow-walking girls you’ll normally see. The slit-mouthed woman has a great look to her and even a home that adds to her freakishness. Sadly, there isn’t much else to get excited about.

The Video

The film is shown in 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and looks decent, but not spectacular as Tartan has done with their other releases lately. Some of the brighter scenes are extremely bright and kind of hard on the eyes. Colors shine through nicely though and darker scenes look black without having a purplish hue over them.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and comes through very well as they usually do. The music is great and never really overpowering while dialogue can always be heard very well. An added bonus is of course that the subtitles are in sync with what is happening on screen.

Special Features

The Making Of Carved – This making of featurette is composed of a lot of short segments totaling up to about fifteen minutes. The cast and crew all share their experiences during filming and what they have heard before of the slit-mouthed woman legend. It is a fun feature and it looks as if everyone truly enjoyed making the film, so it is worth checking out. It’s interesting to note that most of the cast had heard of the legend before so it is obviously something that passes around school children when they are little.

Cast Interview – About five minutes worth of Q & A from a couple of the actors and the director. Nothing really too deep and is just a little bit from each one of them thanking those who purchased the DVD and telling what they thought of the film.

Original Theatrical Trailer

TV Spots

TrailersBloody Reunion, Cinderella, Shutter (The Original), The Red Shoes, and Koma

The Inside Pulse

Carved is one of those films that has so much potential and just seems to fall flat. There is no real reason for it to fall flat other then you can’t help but compare it to other J-horror films and that is a shame. If you can clear your mind and be totally objective, then this will really be a good one for anyone. It is quite creepy and has a great storyline. The special features aren’t anything really to write home about, but they serve a good purpose. Had an audio commentary been included, I think it truly would have enhanced the DVD experience, making it a disc worth owning. A story like the slit-mouthed woman is a true legend that has made the rounds of Japan and now was shown to the rest of the world. Someone like me who had never heard of it really would have enjoyed learning much more about the background and why director Shiraishi Koji chose it out of all the tales. Still I digress, and think that Carved would be best rented by anyone for a good night full of some scares and an intriguing plot.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Carved
(OUT OF 10)