Sewanee Horror Nights: A Review of Cure (1997)

Greta Lane

Contributing Writer

With Halloween right around the corner, many are buzzing with excitement to celebrate the season by indulging in some horror movies. However, many horror fans run into a wall when searching for recommendations for movies they have yet to see. The Sewanee Film Club can help those struggling to find new movies to watch. 

On a brisk and creepy October night (the perfect weather for a scary movie) the Sewanee Film Club had a screening of the movie Cure. Cure is a psychological thriller directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa starring Kōji Yakusho, Masato Hagiwara, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, and Anna Nakagawa. Cure came out at a time when Hollywood was obsessed with unraveling the minds of the evil and depraved, as seen in the blockbuster movie Se7en, and this movie is no different. The movie follows a detective named Kenichi Takabe (Kōji Yakusho) who is trying to piece together and solve a string of identical murders committed by seemingly rational and unrelated suspects. 

The movie wastes no time getting into the gritty storyline. Within the first five minutes of the movie, the audience plays witness to a murder committed by an unknown assailant. Since the movie starts off with quite a bang, the rest of the two-hour-long movie is admittedly slow in comparison to this opening scene, but the pacing of the movie does not detract from the beguiling storyline. 

As the story progresses, the movie introduces an enigmatic man, Mayima (Masato Hagiwara), who appears to have trouble remembering much of anything. The incessant repetition of his questions and the way he talks circles around whoever he encounters has a captivating, dare I say hypnotic, effect on the viewer. Mayima’s mesmerism is also mirrored in the sound design of the film. The repetitive sounds of waves on a beach, the clanging of a noisy washing machine, or the striking of a lighter enter the audience into a state of hypervigilance. Everything in this movie from the framing to the dull color palette to the lack of background music in tense scenes is masterfully and purposely laid out to mimic the dismal story.

Without revealing too much of the story, Cure is a movie that will keep the viewer entertained right up until the shocking last frame. Fans of mystery crime thriller media such as Se7en, Zodiac, or even shows like Criminal Minds are sure to enjoy this integral piece of Japanese horror. Fans of Cure should be sure to check out other Kurosama films such as Pulse or Retribution, or movies from other directors like Memories of Murder by Bong Joon-ho.

Cure, with an impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, 7.5/10 on IMDB, and an overall 4.2 on Letterboxd, should be on every horror buff’s must-watch list. For more must-watch movies, make sure to head over to the Sewanee Film Club’s weekly movie screenings. Make sure to keep track of the Film Club’s Instagram to stay up to date with their events, or reach out to Film Club president Noah Shively (C ’24) for additional information.

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