I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Not available on Netflix.] This is our first Japanese live-action movie based on an Japanese anime. I’ve obtained such conversions before, but often end up never watching them. This time, we finally watched one, using our “Monday night movie” excuse. That is to say, we sometimes intentionally try to watch things we aren’t as interested in on Mondays.

PEOPLE: I think it’s weird that there’s a writer for this movie, when it’s pretty close to a scene by scene remake of the first story arc (4 episodes) in the Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni anime. I suppose they had to convert it to screenplay, as there are a few slight differences. And somebody gets to be credited with that. But it’s barely writing. It’s almost scene by scene identical to the anime.

The actors are unknowns – even in Japan.

That guy who played Keiichi … Kinda retarded looking. His left eye was lower or had a bigger iris or something weird. He looked perpetually stoned. I liked his “Fuck therapy, fuck television, fuck this, fuck fuck” t-shirt, but other than that, I dunno. He looked the least like his cartoon part. He reminded me of the idiot son from Nip/Tuck, only uglier.

The girls were harder to tell apart because of the lack of crazy hair colors. But Mion, who originally had green hair, still had a green band in her hair. Rika was cute, despite her supposedly younger age. Takano was rightfully the hottest character, just like in the anime.

PLOT SUMMARY: It’s just the first 4 eps of the anime, converted to a movie.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Transfer student murders schoolgirls.

VISUALS: They don’t show [highlight for spoilers] Keiichi beating the girls to death, but they do show the bloody bodies afterward. The fact that it’s live action instead of animated makes the gruesome scene a bit more gruesome. But overall, it being live action detracted.

There was a nice post-movie section that was mostly a commercial for the DVDs to the anime series. But what was neat was that they showed 5-10 seconds of animation from EVERY story arc (even Rei/S3). It was kind of nice to see the old anime in a “60 seconds” version.

GOOD STUFF: A very faithful adaptation of the “Spirited Away By The Demon” Higurashi story arc. They didn’t change anything for the worse. Barely any deviations at all. The ending was the same, but there was a tiny different part added on. The tiny bonus part didn’t change things, but was simply to make a smoother set up for a sequel movie.

BAD STUFF: It’s kind of pointless to adapt an anime into a live action that is 98% scene-by-scene identical. The anime was better.

CONCLUSION: This was kind of a redundant production. Why convert a 2 hour anime story arc into a 2 hour movie, and then not really change anything? Still, the story it is based on is undeniably good. Having watched the anime [and taken notes while doing so], we know about ALL the hidden implications. So we’ll be watching the sequel, even though this was kind of redundant.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.0/10.

RECOMMENDATION: Optional viewing for Higurashi completists only.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Followed by Shrill Cries: Resuffle (2009) aka Higurashi no naku koro ni: Chikai, the second movie.