Director and Screenwriter: Keishi Kondo
Cast: Daiki Nunami, Satoshi Oka, Saionji Ryuseigun, Kaho Seto
Runtime: 100 minutes
"New Religion" is a 2022 Japanese surrealist horror film, marking the feature-length debut of writer-director Keishi Kondo. The narrative centers around Miyabi, played by Kaho Seto, whose life unravels after the tragic death of her daughter. Following her divorce, Miyabi finds herself working as a call girl and living with a new boyfriend. Her life takes an eerie turn when she meets a strange customer obsessed with photographing parts of her body, leading her to a supernatural connection with her deceased daughter.
This film is described more as a thriller ghost story than a body horror, contrary to some initial expectations. It's noted for its slow pacing and heavy symbolism, which may not appeal to all audiences. However, the movie's visuals are praised for their beauty, with meticulously framed shots that enhance the storytelling. The cinematography is commended for its use of unique angles and colors, contributing significantly to the narrative's emotional depth.
The plot of New Religion relies on insinuation rather than explicit exposition, using the actors' performances and ambient storytelling to convey its messages. The film explores themes of metamorphosis, both physical and psychological, reflecting Miyabi's journey through loss, change, and a surreal reconnection with her daughter.
The soundtrack, composed by Akihiko Matsumoto, adds an additional layer of tension to the film. It is described as a blend of low rumbling groans, digital interference, and unsettling strings, perfectly complementing the visual storytelling. The antagonist's use of an electrolarynx adds a chilling layer to the dialogue, enhancing the film's eerie atmosphere.
New Religion has been well-received at various film festivals, including Slamdance Film Festival, Arrow Video Frightfest, Osaka Asian Film Festival, Warsaw International Film Festival, and Lisbon International Horror Film Festival. Its visual and symbolic depth, coupled with strong performances and an expressive use of cinematography and sound, makes it a standout feature in the genre. It's recommended to watch the film in a cinema setting to fully appreciate its audiovisual elements.
Search New Religion, 2022