The target of ongoing bullying at school, Misa can barely believe it when the pretty Izumi befriends her. Only after their friendship has had time to flourish does she begin to suspect that her new best friend is hiding something.
Shady prompted me to read some essays on the difference between thrillers and horror, before ultimately deciding that a) I did warn people that I was going to go with a broad definition of horror, and b) it’s my blog, I’ll do what I want! So, yes. This is a thriller rather than a horror (although I would say that it has elements of horror), but it’s worthy of discussion – and also worth watching.
Movies that lean so heavily on child leads can be worrying, because it’s harder to say that a kid sucks at acting than an adult does. Fortunately, both of the leads in this movie (whose names I can’t work out, for which I have to apologise) are well up to the task of bringing us along on their characters’ journey, doing a fine job of depicting their naturally growing relationship. Izumi in particular rides that line between loving friend and shady character with aplomb, which makes Misa’s vacillation between adoration and suspicion believable, rather than an annoying blindness on her part.
There’s a particular scene with Misa, Izumi and one of their teachers that tips the movie’s tone so sharply into the surreal, it was a pleasure to watch; and this pleasure of watching a well-put-together movie was an almost constant experience, making Ryôhei Watanabe’s directing debut a welcome one. There were very few things I could find fault with.
While there were a number of storylines at play in Shady, it’s the way that it engages with the impact of bullying and abuse that made me think it was worth talking about here. It’s the horror of these things that we consider to be everyday experiences that really stand out to me.
If you get the chance, you should give Shady a go.