“It Comes” Movie Review

来る – Kuru
Japan 2018, Dir. Tetsuya Nakashima

Junichi Okada – Nozaki
Nana Komatsu – Makoto Higa
Takako Matsu – Kotoko Higa
Satoshi Tsumabuki – Hideki Tahara
Haru Kuroki – Kana Tahara
Munetaka Aoki – Daigo Tsuda

The perfect domestic dream of married couple Hideki and Haru is destroyed when an entity from Hideki’s past threatens to possess their young daughter Chisa. When Hideki’s friend and folklore professor Tsuda introduces him to freelance writer Nozaki, he in turn enlists the help of this psychic girlfriend Makoto to investigate. It soon becomes clear that there is more going behind the facade of the perfect family. But it might already be too late to stop the paranormal forces unleashed…

It Comes is, in its unexpectedness, exactly what you should expect from a movie by Tetsuya Nakashima. His style, also visible in his other works (such as Confessions, or The World of Kanako), is on full display here. That means flashy visuals, bright colors, an ensemble cast of unusual characters, and a though-provoking narrative. The story is based on the award-winning novel Bogiwan ga kuru (“Bogiwan is coming”) by Ichi Sawamura, which I have yet to read.

Visually the movie is gorgeous throughout, and I also found that the varied score and sound effects always suited the situation well. As for the horror factor, the effects are more of the gross-out / gory kind, with blood flowing on screen by the bucketload. Especially the finale cranks it up to eleven, and I couldn’t help thinking that a subtler approach (like other J-horror) might have worked better. Let’s just say it’s something the likes of which you’ve never seen before. But obviously director Nakashima wasn’t aiming for realism here, and you can’t help but admire his creative vision.

Though part of the story reminded me of other haunted family horror like Poltergeist, It Comes goes beyond the boundaries of the genre. You could even say it is more domestic drama than horror. The contrast between the picture-perfect romance in the beginning, and the supernatural terror is obviously intentional. Though the body-count makes it quite clear that there really are supernatural forces at work, the entity is never actually seen on-screen. In a way, the supernatural force’s invasion could even be seen a metaphor for the destructive elements in any household. Quite a few deeper familiar issues are touched upon, extramarital affairs just to mention one. Hideki’s obsession with portraying the perfect happy family, or Kana’s negligence in taking care of Chisa are more disturbing than the hauntings in a way.

Now on to my favorite part! As expected from Nakashima, the acting is absolutely spot-on, and it’s an absolute joy to watch the ensemble of colorful characters. Nana Komatsu and Haru Kuroki deserve special mention in their respective roles as empathic psychic Makoto and troubled wife Kana. Despite the extremeness of the situation, I love it how natural the interactions are. Overall the seriousness of the situation is conveyed well, and you could say that the cast pretty much carries the movie.

As for the plot, my summary written above actually doesn’t even scratch the surface. Without trying to spoil too much, let’s just say it’s pretty unpredictable and a lot of it you won’t see coming. What’s more, the plot is presented from three different viewpoints: Hideki’s, his wife Kana’s, and writer Nozaki’s. It also tends to jump back and forth in time quite a bit. While it’s interesting to have events presented from three different perspectives, this approach is also the movie’s biggest flaw. As a viewer, you’re constantly taken out of the action. Especially during the second half, it makes the already complicated narrative even more confusing. I feel that the impact would have been stronger had the plot stayed a little more focused. But in this state, it left me strangely detached and indifferent to the protagonists’ fates.

Despite that, I actually I enjoyed the movie a great deal and plan to re-watch it in the near future. There are more memorable scenes then I can count, and I would even go as far as saying it’s one of my favorite pieces of recent Japanese horror (not that there was much competition).


Fresh and unique; Gorgeous visuals; Thought-provoking story; Great performances.


Lack of focus due to episodic structure.


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