MUSEUM, based on a popular horror manga, finds a detective in a J-horror nightmare in director Keishi Ohtomo’s crossover yarn about a twisted serial killer — A crossover in the sense that the film is a hybrid of a horror film (set in perhaps the scariest museum you’ll find yourself in) and a police procedural thriller ala SEVEN.
Detective Hisashi Sawamura (Shun Oguri) of the Tokyo police is completely caught up in his work. He seems to be sleeping alone these days after his wife walked out on him, along with their 5-year-old son, for neglecting to notice he had a family. In his misery he still reacts brilliantly to clues. He’s a cool pro compared to rookie cop Nishino (Shuhei Nomura) who throws up at the sight of the first victim: a tied-up girl reduced to shreds after being attacked by ravenous dogs. The killer leaves a card saying “Dog Food Penalty.”
Dressed in a ridiculous frog costume, the killer boldly breaks into the apartment of his second victim, a nerdish vid gamer. A pound of flesh is exacted from the poor fellow while he’s still alive, thankfully off screen. The dark rainy setting leaves most of the horror to the viewer’s imagination, which will be working overtime anyway to figure out the card left behind: “Pain of Mom Penalty”.
What unfolds is a break-neck, cat-and-mouse thriller that will leave the audience breathless. Director Ohtomo, who directed the live-action RUROUNI KENSHIN trilogy, showcases his deft directing skills, in crafting a J-horror film that lives up to the upper echelons of the noted genre.