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Onibaba (1965)


No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 5,408

My Rating

Movie Info

A landmark in fantasy cinema, this lyrical ghost story is set in medieval Japan amid a bloody conflict between rival fiefdoms. While the warrior Kichi's impoverished wife (Jitsuko Yoshimura) and mother (Nobuko Otowa) wait for his return from battle, they maintain a humble existence by luring lost soldiers into the surrounding fields of tall grass and murdering them in order to sell their armor and weapons for food; the bodies are then disposed of in a deep cavern. After learning that her son has


Drama, Horror, Art House & International

Kaneto Shindō

Mar 16, 2004

Toho Company Ltd.

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All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (2) | DVD (13)

Too often, it turns out to be a pot-pourri of ravenous eating and blatant sex.

April 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (2)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

No masterpiece by any means, it's at times overplayed, but it's striking visually, handling swift horizontal movement very well. It's also genuinely erotic.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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Although his artistic integrity remains untarnished, his driven rustic principals are exotic, sometimes grotesque figures out of medieval Japan, to whom a Westerner finds it hard to relate.

May 10, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (3)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A creepy, interesting, and visually striking 1963 feature by Kaneto Shindo.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unflinching in its violence and eroticism.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Onibaba is a chilling movie, a waking nightmare shot in icy monochrome, and filmed in a colossal and eerily beautiful wilderness.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

the horror of war and the horror of untrammeled market forces combine in a nightmarish vision of humanity bestialised.

August 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

One of the absolute peaks of atmospheric black-and-white horror.

April 14, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Onibaba shows less interest in laying bare its meanings than in offering the occasion for the viewers' meditations on life, existence (a different thing), and whatever lies below.

July 9, 2004 Full Review Source:

Interesting as a claustrophobic vision.

March 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Onibaba graphically illustrates that brutalism, art and allegory can co-exist to spellbindingly powerful effect.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Onibaba

despite the limitations that this film faced with its limited story, few characters, and single environment, the film is incredibly effective with what is put on screen. the cinematography was especially perfect in every way, creating a necessary eerieness that sets the perfect mood for a mild horror film that takes place in the most perfect of settings with the daunting tall grass near an unsettling river. the fear factor was at a perfect level and overall the film is perfect for fans of the old style horror that cares more about story than gore and shock value. one of my favorite horror films of all time.
January 15, 2011
danny d

Super Reviewer

A personal favorite of mine. It's dark, earthy, erotic, claustrophobic, eerie, but mostly a grim tale of a trio with little but the basics of human nature to keep them going. It's a harsh film shot with a minimalist set with survival as a key theme to the story, the look being the primary attraction. Dialogue is minimal, as is the percussive jazz soundtrack creating a Bushido-noir.

To judge the women in the film would be hypocritical since the impoverished world they live in has been created by the hierarchy of man and the aftermath of war. Then there's the sexual jealousy between mother and daughter stemmed from self-preservation; the mother may not survive without her and being reminded of her own unfulfilled sexual desires while only growing older. The pace is slow but time is never wasted. More psychological than spiritual horror, Onibaba is like no other film and has proven the test of time with other greats from Kurosawa, Ozu and Mizoguchi.

November 30, 2009
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

A story of survival in extreme poverty during wartime.

Minimalistic and bare, yet at the same time ridden with symbolism. Strongly sexual without being sexy or vulgar.
September 17, 2008

Super Reviewer

classic japanese horror tale with frank sexual themes; all about 2 women killing to survive in a hypnotic sea of grass...until a man comes beween them. atmospheric and haunting and full of incredible images and not quite like anything else i've seen. odd but fitting score as well
April 14, 2008
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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