Tomie (1999) – By Brian Morton

There’s a new horror in town, Japanese Horror, or J-Horror as they’re calling it. Who are ‘they’ you ask? I have no idea, but apparently, ‘they’re powerful and ‘they’ name and say a whole lot of stuff that we’re all expected to say too. Anyway, this isn’t about ‘them’ this is about Japanese horror movies, and the wave of them assaulting us right now. Some are good, some, no so much, but I’ll probably watch them all anyway, it’s what ‘they’ say I should do.

This time let’s look at one of these J-Horror movies called Tomie. This is apparently based on a Manga comic. What’s a manga comic, you ask? Well, again, this is a little beyond me, I’m a movie guy, my comic guy days are long behind me…well…at least a year behind me. But, if you want to know what a manga is, go into your local comic book store and ask the clerk, I’m sure he can give you the two-hour dissertation that mine offered me. When I woke up, I decided to just accept Tomie as the movie that it is.

Tomie is the horror story of a girl who can’t die. This is one of those weird movies that you kind of need to see to understand, but it’s very dark, very strange and very, very good.

Tomie is a teenaged girl who had a power over men. Men desire her and will do anything for her and what she wants them to do is kill people. And they do, she controls a man, he kills anyone Tomie wants dead and then it builds into a psychotic break in the man and he kills Tomie and himself.

Now, ordinarily, when the title character of a movie dies, that’s the end of it, not here. You see, Tomie can’t die. When she’s killed she just returns. And the way she returns is very strange indeed. For example, in the sequel, Tomie Rebirth, a part of the recently dead Tomie is transplanted into a small child and that part of Tomie begins to regenerate until Tomie’s whole head is inside the small girl and has to be surgically removed! Very strange stuff indeed.

Tomie, pronounced Tome-E-A, is one of those movies that you don’t completely understand what’s going on, but you can’t stop watching either. It’s worth checking out and the sequels are just as good as the original. And for a Japanese horror movie, there’s a surprising amount of blood, by the comparisons of Ringu or Ju-On, for example. Tomie is worth taking a look at if you’re looking for something completely different.