THE SLIT-MOUTHED WOMAN (2007)
Yamashita becomes obsessed with finding the young girl, and when she crosses paths with a fellow teacher, Mr. Matsuzaki, she learns much more than she bargained for. Matsuzaki believes that the Slit-Mouthed Woman is actually his mother from thirty years ago. He describes the constant abuse he and his siblings took from the fists of his chronically ill mother, and fears that she has since returned to the land of the living to kill him as well. Following the consistently corroborating rumors that they have heard from the children, Matsuzaki comes to the realization that the Slit-Mouthed Woman has once again taken up residence in the now abandoned house where he used to live.
Koji Shiraishi, who has spent his entire filmmaking career in the warm embrace of Japan's horror community, is no stranger to shadows and jump scares. He utilizes these skills into a very subtle yet driving force within the context of the film here. His camera slowly pans and creeps along doorways and walls, obstructing the view just enough to make you anticipate the next shocking moment. However, the most horrific moments and the most difficult scenes to watch come from the flashback sequences of Matsuzaki's youth. Here, as a human, Matsuzaki's mother is truly a monster. Shiraishi lets his camera linger as the woman walks from child to child, striking with her fists. The muffled sound of each contact will send pangs of helplessness down through your soul, and Shiraishi holds just long enough for the viewers own protective instincts to kick in before turning away. This is where the film finds its greatest success, and it is these scenes that will most likely stay with the viewer longest.
Within the murder and maiming sequences though, almost all of the actual penetration and cutting is done just off camera. Instead, sound is used to its greatest potential here. Horror crafters have long known that the mind can create a vision far more terrifying than anything that can be faked, and Shiraishi is certainly no exception. The grisly sounds the Slit-Mouthed Woman's sewing shears make will send shivers down the spine. Most people have probably been cut by scissors at some point in their life, and that real-life connection to pain makes the scenes just that more agonizing to watch. We are shown multiple mouth-gaping shots of the Slit-Mouthed Woman throughout the film, which are quite convincing. These are not the neat and surgical cuts of ICHI THE KILLER's Kakihara, these are jagged slashes, with the skin looking like it has even been torn beyond the initial cut.