Onibaba - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Onibaba Reviews

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December 18, 2016
A really good movie about peasant women surviving war in medieval Japan.
½ December 13, 2016
Onibaba (1964)

Onibaba means literally, Hag, but the alternative title for this film is Demon Woman.

Two impoverished women live by killing and stealing from samurai who wonder into the tall reeds in the wetlands where they live. They strip the bodies, drag, and then drop them into a deep hole. The mother (Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) live in a tiny shack.

The mother's son Kichi and a neighbor, Hachi (Kei Sato) were taken by the military to fight in the prolonged wars between two fighting Shoguns, so their farming has suffered, but they are able to survive selling off weapons, armor, and clothing of the dead.

One night, Hachi returns to their hut and tells them that he and their son had escaped the fighting but had been attacked while trying to steal food from some local farmers and Kichi was killed. The mother suspects that low-life Hachi may have even killed her son.

Now the two lonely (and horny) women have been eyeing Hachi, the daughter in-law especially. Hachi and the young widow have been secretly seeing each other. Even Kichi's mother would like to have sex with Hachi too, but she's too old for Hachi's taste.

Angry and jealous, Kichi's mother tries to trick her daughter in-law into not seeing Hachi anymore with tales of demons. The mother wears a Hannya Noh demon mask. Ironically, the Hannya mask is an embodiment of a obsessive, angry, jealous, and heartbroken female demon.

Directed and written by Kaneto Shindo, who based this on a Buddhist parable, did an excellent job. It's well photographed too, with the tall reeds bumping into each other. The only thing that I didn't like was the ending, which left you in the lurch. Other than that, I love this movie.
December 12, 2016
Reminiscent of another film called "Woman In The Dunes" which instead of the entire environment made of sand, the environment this time is very tall grass involving a mother and her daughter-in-law inadvertently killing already wounded samurai or any kind of samurai so that they can barter for their armory and weapons for food. Complications arrive when a former male acquaintance comes back without the old lady's son. This is yet another anti-war movie.
December 10, 2016
good Japanese ghost story
½ October 18, 2016
Eerie, fascinating, and visually arresting, Onibaba falls short of masterpiece status while nonetheless being a frightening horror film about dehumanization and human sexuality.
November 10, 2015
Great mask great film
½ October 21, 2015
Great film filled with beautiful cinematography, haunting atmosphere and good pacing.

The film also kept me intrigued due to the themes and ideas that it wanted to explore.

Highly recommended if you like japanease horror :)
½ September 18, 2015
Marking a big list of shame title off the list for my Halloween 2014 viewing, this one is really gorgeous to look at and builds to some truly creepy scenes at the end. Just a great little ghost story and well worth tracking down.

Give it a rental at the very least.
July 9, 2015
Kaneto Shindo's ominous Onibaba opens with a bang and seldom settles thereafter.
A chiaroscuro chiller set during a 14th century civil war, the film takes place in a sort of windy nightmare realm, following two scantily clad swamp women who slaughter and pillage unsuspecting samurai to make ends meet.
The film's genre is a matter of debate, but 103 mins of rustling reeds, silhouetted shrieks and demonic masks certainly feels more horror than period drama. And one thing's for sure: its creep factor hasn't aged a bit.
Monochrome madness with cinematography to die for.
April 5, 2015
In war-torn medieval Japan, a woman and her daughter-in-law murder soldiers to survive. When her son's friend comes back & woos the girl, she summons a demon to keep the girl at home.
March 3, 2015
A thrilling Japanese Horror about 2 peasant women who murder Samurai in tall grass & sell their belongings to survive.

Shot to perfection by director Kaneto Shinado who created such an eerie atmosphere with the location.

As the story progresses one peasant woman kills a Samurai with a strange mask she then puts on & can not take off. The film is creepy but compelling to watch.
February 22, 2015
Dramatic blackness + sounds of drums + murder
August 16, 2014
It's not the story so much but the imagery, of humans given over to their base instincts in surviving - killing, eating and fucking. All actions are motivated by desires or fear - either from lack of necessities or superstition. Everything is coarse, rough and over the top - but it all serves a purpose to display the raw animalistic passion of the characters.
May 30, 2014
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½ May 25, 2014
'Onibaba' is a triumph in that it achieves so much with so little, a testament that simplicity is often overlooked in the creation of emotional and captivating films. The plot and characterization is reminiscent of an old folk tale, with archetypes of specific groups of people being portrayed by one person, and is shot in a sheen of black and white which makes the simple sets and locations all the more vivid and appealing. The actual locations and music contribute heavily to the ominous tone, the isolation and grime of the characters is very real. While the film heavily makes use of extended shots of simple day to day tasks, this simple way of building suspense and giving insight into the characters is not too overbearing. After viewing 'Onibaba' the viewer may think that the film could have been cut 20-30 minutes and still retain the artistic integrity, but the film's strong points generate enough interest helps the film succeed as a live-action horror fable.
½ April 19, 2014
Film o dvou enách a jednom mui ve st?edov?kém Japonsku v období válek, které se iví zabíjením a okrádáním samuraj? kdesi uprost?ed rákosí. Chlap si chce uívat s mladou, stará jim to chce p?ekazit.
Hra se stíny a ponurá atmosféra z toho d?lají celkem psycho záitek.
April 17, 2014
Directed by the japanese master of horror Kaneto shindo, Onibaba is a terrific Tour-de-force horror film with some of the most briiliant shots in cinema. Shindo's horror masterpiece was considered at that time too controversial for occidental viewers, it was banned in many countries because of its Violence,nudity and storyline, without doubt one of the most perfect. And controversial films ever made.
½ April 13, 2014
Most of the film might be slow, but certainly not boring. A landmark of horror and fantasy genres.
February 24, 2014
Occasional lapses but on the whole a very effective post-apocalyptic tale built on an old buddhist story.
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