Writer: Simon Barrett (Screenplay)
Starring: Logan Huffman, Brandon Sklenar, Natalia Warner, Naoto Takenaka, Asahi Uchida
Plot: Three American tourists follow a mysterious map deep into the jungles of Japan searching for an ancient temple. When spirits entrap them, their adventure quickly becomes a horrific nightmare.
Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: The Stuff of Nightmares
Story: Temple starts as we see the Japanese having one of our America tourist in a quarantine like state, they need to learn what happened between Christopher (Huffman), James (Sklenar) and Kate (Warner) in their time in Japan. We learn how Chris got his hands on a book of folk ales which puts the frights on the locals, but this is a movie, so we get the book and head to the temple it is depicting.
Even after warnings and knowing nothing about the temple, the three Americas head off to find the temple in the remote Japanese countryside, the temple is the home of nightmares and the friends will learn the truth about this now.
Thoughts on Temple
Characters – Christopher has learnt Japanese for this trip, he is joined by his oldest friend Kate, he clashes with her boyfriend James, he does seem to come off like a young man who knows about what he is stepping into and someone who would be happy to go it alone, he also is the translator for the group. Kate is the lone girl on the trip getting to spend time with her oldest friend and boyfriend, she loves both of them who can offer them what they want in this adventure. James is the boyfriend of Kate’s that doesn’t seem overly interested in the countryside part of the adventure, he isn’t convinced on the type of friendship Kate and Chris have either, we also learn that he might not be the honest guy.
Performances – When it comes to the performances, well this isn’t going to come off pretty, the three main actors are fine, they offer very little when it comes to exploring side of things and struggle once we got into the darkness that makes it nearly impossible to see anything.
Story – The story follows three Americans who go into the woods of Japan in search for a temple only to learn the nightmare filled truth about it. Told in a flashback formula where one of the group recounts what they believe to have happened only confuses more, because if one person is telling the story how do they know what the other two are doing when they are not around? Yeah, this is very weak storytelling, a story that has been done plenty of times and a lot better.
Horror/History – This is horror in the most frustrating sense, I say this because there could be a lot going on, but it is too dark to see too often, the moments we do see are good effects, but the mix of shaky cam, darkness and just screaming don’t bring us into this film.
Settings – The Japanese setting should be perfect for this film, but this falls flat because we don’t dive into the true tradition that could bring us into the culture we are meeting in the film.
Final Thoughts – This is a horror movie that gets confused on many levels, it tries to do a certain idea of looking back on what happened, but in this shows us what happened without this character present, it is shot way to dark and ends up feeling like a complete waste of time.
Overall: Poor horror that misses every shot.