Three girls who are experiencing bullying at school call on a spirit to punish their tormentors. The next day, one of the bullies is found dead after an alleged suicide. This is the just the beginning of events that will change their small village forever.
Bunshinsaba caused me to feel like the silly Westerner that I quite often am – which is actually not a bad thing.
Let me explain.
Given that my engagement with horror movies from the Asian region has predominantly been with Japanese horror movies, I had a certain expectation about the type of narrative style that Bunshinsaba would have. Instead, what I got was a healthy reminder that, while ‘Asia’ might be a geographical region, that doesn’t mean that it’s also a culturally homogeneous region.
Rather than being similar to a Japanese horror movie, Bunshinsaba actually felt pretty ‘Hollywood,’ both in terms of its high production quality and its narrative style.
With respect to the former point: this is a movie that looks, sounds and feels great. Even as someone who thinks that the ‘girl with long black hair’ trope has been overused to the point of exhaustion, I still found myself thoroughly engaged just based on how well executed the production was. This is the standard that (high budget) horror movies should hold themselves to.
With respect to the latter point, however…
Bunshinsaba seemed to have quite a few plot holes, in large part because I think it tried to do too much. The story felt much more complicated than it needed to, and the characters seemed to suffer for it at times. There were more than a handful of scenes doling out information, but not necessarily progressing the plot.
I’m also still not entirely sure I understand what happened to one of the main characters at the end of the movie, either.
Still, I’d classify this as a pretty high quality horror movie, and encourage you to watch it. Even with some issues, Bunshinsaba is still pretty good.