Yogen (2004) Poster

(2004)

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8/10
Consequences for altering history
MartianOctocretr525 March 2007
A very creative Japanese horror movie, in the style of Ju-On. It's fairly slow-paced, being character and plot driven, but this is the right approach due to its clever, intelligent, and emotional script.

A man starts receiving a newspaper which predicts tragic future events, sort of the "Early Edition" TV show's premise, except in the case of the E.E., the purpose was to give the paper's recipient ample warning to prevent the tragedy. Here, by contrast, the intention is clearly evil. The newspaper appears in an always sinister way, even "chasing" the man sometimes, and forcing him to see future events, which he learns he is not allowed to interfere with; if he does, he will unleash grotesque consequences. Then the paper torments him with a story about his own family.

The characters are very easy to identify with as innocents who have been cast into this danger, and have done nothing wrong, rather than the usual horror movie victims who are evil and/or stupid. The story unfolds in a the fashion of learning new information along with the main character. The terror of the people in jeopardy is well defined, and the story reaches a touching and poignant denouement. Worth watching.
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7/10
A meandering, multi-genred film that ultimately rewards
Warning: Spoilers
Yogen begins with a tight sequence full of foreboding. A married couple with their young daughter are driving home from vacation when the father, Professor Hideki Satomi, needs to send an email. To get an internet connection they stop at a phone booth, and whilst waiting for his email to connect Hideki receives a shocking premonition. He discovers a newspaper depicting his daughter Nana's death: she dies in a car explosion, alone, after an impact by a lorry. He spots the date - it's today's - he sees the time - it's now - it happens right behind him, his wife Ayaka having tried unsuccessfully to release Nana from the back seat. This opening is suspenseful and subsequently sets a high expectation for the rest of the film.

We now travel three years into the future where Hideki and Ayaka are divorced, their marriage not having survived the horrific experience and aftermath of Nana's death. Their continuing relationship is explored with surprising depth: no character is wholly blamed for past events and both leads are written believably and with sympathy. Hideki soon becomes haunted with other premonitions, and with his ex-wife's help finds some answers about his own fate and others. This leads to the most disappointing part of the film, the meandering middle section, where audiences fidget and become eager for a pay-off.

It's worth the wait. With a journey into hell, one shocking sequence in particular and some genuine 'jump' moments, Yogen also manages to incorporate familiar concepts from films such as Groundhog Day and The Butterfly Effect. Despite this, the premise still feels fresh and the last twenty minutes deserve full attention.

I wouldn't classify Yogen solely as a horror, as the conventions of mystery, thriller and even some romance are also apparent. This film relies more on character development and a well thought-out (albeit sometimes slow) script than cheap shocks or blood and gore. With strong acting (most notably the stressed-out and suitably skinny performance from Hiroshi Mikami as Hideki), nicely crafted sequences and a pervading score, this film is predictable and unpredictable in equal measures. Admittedly uneven, if a viewer has enjoyed films of a similar premise, they can be confident Yogen ultimately delivers and entertains.
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7/10
Uncontrolled power is not power at all
Skillfully edited and highly tensioned, Yogen is one every so often discussed psycho-horror. It's been produced from the idea of the same titled Japanese comic book of 1950s' and follows the storyline of a solid Japanese novel from the same decade. The comic book creates a heroic theme out of a psychic family man who saves his family from a traffic accident, while the novel focuses on precognitive newspaper delusions seen by ordinary people.

In the opening scene, giving a little clue of the main idea, we're being introduced to a middle-aged female victim of a paranormal incident taken from a newspaper article. She is being tested over her newly acquired supernatural skills at an university research laboratory. The second scene, where main characters are introduced, has the heart-wrenching traffic accident that gives cause for a chain of more alike accidents. The common trait of each accident is that they both have precognitive warnings to their survivors. The survivors of this first accident were parents to a 5-year-old singleton, who got killed in the accident. To their surprise their daughter has been the only vein that holds them together. Atfer the death of their daughter they get parted. They both keep receiving precognitive warnings for next alike accidents of their colleagues, disciples, friends and relatives.

Over the last few years we've seen likes of this idea in Hollywood. With Sandra Bullock, also with Nicolas Cage there were either action or drama based films displayed. Among all, Yogen has the most influential message: Everyone has tremendous abilities hidden inside that might become surfaced once in a while for everyone. But we're not born to behave like angels or daemons. To have psychic skills is no means of becoming stronger or wiser. Uncontrolled power is not power at all, and we're not born to have such powers.

With extreme usage of melodrama and surrealist pen-portraits, Yogen is a one-way ticket for travelling into a metaphysical world of limitless secrets, symbols, dreams and intuition where time has lost its permanence.
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9/10
Not so much horror, but very emotional
lukifer_886 November 2006
Having children myself, this movie struck me in a very emotional way. In fact, I was ALMOST moved to tears. That does not happen often.

If you're looking for a Ringu type horror flick, this isn't it. At times, Yogen moves rather slowly and doesn't pack the creepy punch I was expecting. That being said, I found the "creep" to be replaced with "emotion." There could have been disappointment from the lack of scares since I was looking to watch a horror movie, but was pleasantly surprised by how moved I was. The ending is just perfect.

If you're a parent or simply know the feeling of emotional bonds, Yogen has the power to move you more than typical horror would.
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shockingly original
bosscain13 July 2005
In a world of ordinary run of mill cookie cutter movies comes Premonition. A exciting horror thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat. This fresh take on a old Japanese legend gives new life and new meaning to the Japanese horror movie market.An intense psycho drama that will renew your faith in foreign horror movies and make you search for more movies made in the same style.If you like horror movies but can do with out the blood, gore and a crazy maniac running around killing everybody, then this one is for you. If you like to use your brain while your watching and not just sit in your seat like a mindless zombie than you came to the right place. My highest recommendations 10+/10
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7/10
Okay Japanese horror film.
HumanoidOfFlesh21 August 2005
While driving through the countryside with his wife and daughter,Hideki Satomi stops at the phone booth to send an email.There he discovers a scrap of newsprint with his daughter's picture on it,and an article describing her death in a traffic accident.With a sense of horrible premonition and foreboding,he witnesses the terrifying automobile accident that had been accurately described in the article.The grieving father becomes obsessed with uncovering the mystery of the newspaper."Yogen" is the second installment in Taka Ischige sponsored "J-Horror Theater" series.The film is not as effectively creepy as "Kansen",but the acting is great and the beginning is truly powerful.The climax is pretty satisfying,unfortunately the middle section of the film leads to nowhere.Still if you like sophisticated horror films that deal with fate and its consequences give "Yogen" a look.7 out of 10.
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6/10
Another decent, if still not excellent, J-horror flick.
Ky-D7 July 2005
Following closely on the heels of 'Kansen' (aka 'Infection'), 'Yogen' in the next J-horror flick in the planned series. Arguably better than it's predecessor, it still fails to achieve greatness.

While on a family vacation, a man finds a newspaper clipping detailing the death of his daughter moments before she dies. After the incident, the man and his estranged wife try to understand how this phenomenon occurred and possibly how to use it to change the future.

The opening scene makes a promise that much of the film doesn't live up to. It's a tightly filmed piece of suspense that yields a great pay off, yet sadly the scenes that follow dwindle into monotony and tedium as the audience must wait for the characters to figure out what has already been clearly stated. I hate to say it, but I had a hard time sitting through much of the film. Not until nearer the end do things pick-up again, when the father begins a twisted time traveling scenario that borders on sheer lunacy and is so deliciously entertaining.

Technically the film is competent. Camera work, color, and the like are good. The actors are also quiet capable even if the writing is dull. All in all no better or worse than most Japanese horror flicks.

A quality opening and a bizarrely satisfying conclusion bookend an otherwise ordinary tale of loss and the supernatural.

6/10
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9/10
A wild ride, that's for sure!
MartinHafer21 March 2013
"Premonition" is an exceptional horror film--with a very original plot that kept me on the edge of my....well, actually, it was not my seat--I was actually watching while walking on my treadmill! But either way, it's a dandy film, that's for sure.

The film begins with a family coming back from a trip. The father, Hideki Satomi, is too busy with work he's doing in the back seat of the car to pay any attention to his wife and daughter. When they stop at a pay phone, things get VERY strange. Hideki sees a newspaper on the ground under the phone and something grabs his attention--a clipping that talks about his daughter's death!!! And, the article tells the time she was killed--just a moment away! Hideki tries to run from the phone booth to the car parked across the road--but he's too late. An out of control truck careens into the car and kills the little girl.

Several years pass. Hideki's marriage has crumbled and he's divorced. It seems that his story about seeing the article has ruined his marriage--ask she doesn't believe he saw this weird prescient clip--and it was lost in the confusion of the accident. And, he's simply obsessed by it--as well as quite depressed. The wife returns to him, however, when she realizes that there are others who have described similar things---claiming to have knowledge of deaths JUST BEFORE they occur! There is much more to the film--but I really don't want to ruin the film. Suffice to say, it's extraordinarily creepy and original. And, although technically a horror film, it's also a wonderful film about love and sacrifice. Well worth your time, that's for sure.
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7/10
Much more than a horror flick -- moving dramatic performances
auroradarc25 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
As a horror movie, "Yogen" does disappoint -- the effects are hokey, and many aspects of the plot are poorly laid out (or not dealt with at all). But what impressed me about this film is, the human relationships are so real and moving, I kept forgetting I was watching a horror movie. I've rarely seen such powerful acting in a genre flick; the protagonist and his ex-wife are incredibly vulnerable and rawly expressive. I loved this movie in spite of its weaknesses. It emphasized the REAL reasons why horror scares us: because we fear the loss of love, because we feel guilty when bad things happen, because we fear being alone.

Never mind horror -- I cried when Hiroshi Mikami (the extraordinary actor who plays the protagonist) thought he heard his dead little girl calling his name, and his reactions -- shock, terror, disbelief, slowly rising hope, cathartic joy and sobbing relief, followed by horror, grief and anguish -- just broke my heart. Noriko Sakai, who plays his ex-wife, is equally powerful, especially in the scene where the estranged couple finally stop blaming themselves and each other, and come back together.

I very much hope we'll see more of these two wonderful actors, in films more worthy of their talents than this one. But this one isn't bad, by any means -- the screenplay, in particular, is a lot better than you usually get for a genre horror movie in translation. (A Japanese speaker might disagree with me there, but despite clunky subtitles, you could still get the gist of some pretty subtle and humane dialogue for a horror flick.) I'd recommend this movie for the acting, and again, I hope to see Hiroshi Mikami and Noriko Sakai in more, and better, films.
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7/10
You know not the day nor the hour....or do you?
lastliberal11 July 2007
Excellent Japanese psychological horror film.

Not a lot of blood or scariness; this film is a mind game.

Long time Japanese actor Hiroshi Mikami sees his daughter's death minutes before it happens. His wife, Noriko Sakai (star of the Japanese version of The Grudge 2), thinks he is crazy and they split.

But, she investigates further and finds a strange Japanese legend about premonition.

They find out what happens if you try to change it, and he has to choose his destiny.

Tense drama, slow at times, but a great ending.
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