Haze (2005)

haze poster 2005 movie shinya tsukamoto
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Very tense, strong visuals to increase tension

Not very story driven

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Haze

Studio:  Gold View Company Ltd.

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  April 28, 2005 (Jeonju International Film Festival)/March 4, 2006 (Japan)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

haze shinya tsukamoto crawlspace

This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife

A man (Shin’ya Tsukamoto) wakes up in a small, confined crawlspace.  He is barely able to move, has no memory of how he got there, and has a stomach wound that seems to be getting worse.  As he makes his way through the claustrophobic underground tunnels, he questions who is responsible and if escape is possible.  Encountering a woman (Kaori Fuji), the only hope maybe taking a chance…and life or death may follow.

Written, directed, produced, and starring Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Haze is a horror suspense thriller.  The short film had a twenty-four minute version, but was expanded to a forty-eight minute version for release.

One of my biggest fears is being unable to move…and Haze plays on that fear.  The movie has a character trapped in the dark and crawling and scooting his way through a world he doesn’t understand.  The movie is not what you’d expect from a standard thriller, but it is something you’d expect from Shin’ya Tsukamoto.

haze shinya tsukamoto trapped visions

Remember that time you woke up underground, shot, trapped, and crazy?

There isn’t much of a plot to Haze.  Like the main character, the viewer doesn’t have (or get) much of an answer to anything.  It is more about the journey which is terrifying.  He meets a woman, they have some insight, but once again, no answers.  The film is filled with a lot of birth imagery that implies being born or reborn…leading everything to feel more symbolic than reality.

Shin’ya Tsukamoto is smart.  While normally directors in their own films are pretty questionable, he writes this film in a way that acting isn’t a priority.  It is the emotions and feelings.  I do like Kaori Fuji who appears as the other trapped person, and in her appearance, she is able to give more perspective to the emotions that Shin’ya’s character is feeling…she is both a touchstone and a means to push forward for the character.

haze kaori fuji shinya tsukamoto trapped

Awe…a meet cute!

The movie does a great job with the terrifying aspect of being unable to move.  It is shot tight and instead of being one simple tunnel, it is a series of different types of claustrophobia.  There is the inability to move, the confinement, and the idea of having to blindly swim through a watery tunnel with the hopes that you can get out.  This is combined with some rather gory imagery that is almost ineffective because of the horrors that the main character is mentally experiences…a severed hand is nothing compared to the horror he is trapped in.

Haze will be frustrating for some due to the ambiguity of the plot, and Haze will be intolerable for others due to the really intense feelings created by the plot.  Like most of Shin’ya’s work, it is rather niche and it isn’t for everyone.  Fortunately wherever you fall as a viewer, the movie is extremely short, and like the main character, you hopefully can push through.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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