St. John’s Wort (2001)

  • Year: 2001
  • Released: 27 Jan 2001
  • Country: Japan
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  • IMDb:
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Japanese
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
  • Runtime: 85 min
  • Writer: Goro Nakajima, Takenori Sentô, Shûkei Nagasaka
  • Director: Ten Shimoyama
  • Cast: Megumi Okina, Yôichirô Saitô, Kôji Ohkura
  • Keywords: haunted house, based on video game,

St. John’s Wort Storyline

Nami has been creating artwork for a new video game based on images she’s been seeing in her dreams. With one of the game producers, she travels out to an abandoned house that seems to match her visions. As they explore the old mansion, Nami begins to have more visions of a forgotten childhood, until at last she comes across a photo of twin infants, labelled “Nami” and “Naomi”. As Nami and the producer go from room to room, an unseen person seems to be watching them from a hidden room.—Jean-Marc Rocher

St. John’s Wort Photos

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St. John’s Wort Subtitles Download

St. John’s Wort Movie Reviews


Version: Japanese, English subtitles (by SBS)

I don’t know what to make of ‘Otogiriso’. It was slow from start to finish, quite a feat for a movie that runs less than 90 minutes, but it built up a strange and creepy atmosphere and was crafted using some interesting concepts.

I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling it: Nami (Megumi Okina) has been designing a video game based on dreams she has been having. After finding the house from her dream, Nami and Kohei (Yoichiro Saito), decide to investigate the house. Naturally, this is a bad idea, but video games and movies alike thrive on bad ideas.

The whole concept of ‘Otogiriso’ is that the movie is a video game. It plays out like a game – the characters are stuck in one location, they have a support team they can phone, they have maps and must find keys for locked doors. A nice idea, but probably one that would appeal to gamers and few other people. Others might appreciate the cinematography, but this is definitely not for everyone.

‘Otogiriso’ is a good movie, I would recommend it to gamers, and maybe fans of Asian horror movies – 7/10

Interesting lesson in new techniques but lacking bite and ultimately, scares.

The movie doesn’t exactly kick off it just flows on to a beginning. Mixing between future images, dreams, computer artwork and the real story, it’s all very confusing. However, like many Asian films if you hold on in there things start to become clear, and they do just that. The problem is it takes so long to get out of the “exploration of the house” act, which contains scenes of incredibly drawn out silences, inappropriate dialogue. I even felt myself urging the main character to turn round when her friend told her to look behind her and she just kept looking at him while making confused noises.

It was a struggle, but I got through it. However, you shouldn’t miss what’s been done there technically. The use of hand-held and remote cameras, the clever movement of the camera into the hand-held to provide a new perspective, all new and interesting film techniques pulled together actually make for some interesting viewing. However, they don’t save the story. It’s almost as if the makers have tried to pull everything together that the current “kids” are into, videogames, matrix style action shot, technology…nah, doesn’t work I’m afraid.

One problem is it’s predictable, until the closing shock which is just railroaded over and doesn’t seem to be a surprise that the film makers wanted to pursue. They brought out this great one liner near the end of the movie then just let it go.

So poor script, interesting ideas and some cool techniques, but the suspense is lost, as is any horror, surprise and effective story telling. It is mighty shame though, the overall story, once you grasp it, is quite a good and very uneasy one, although it is still left quite unexplained.

Not bad

This wasn’t as creepy or compelling as “Ju-On” which also starred Megumi Okina, but it was interesting. Nami, a young girl with an artistic flair discovers she has inherited a mansion. She and her ex-boyfriend decide to check the place out with a video camera in hopes of using some of the footage for a video game they are working on, called St. Johns Wort. The huge house is in disrepair and is filled with disturbing paintings, all of which turn out to have been painted by Nami’s late father, a morbid genius. As the young couple explore the house, they are monitored by a pair of friends back in the city who map out the mansion and its many rooms on a computer. The exploration turns up many horrible secrets; a photograph of Nami and a missing twin identified as Naomi, a cellar full of the mummified remains of children and a hidden room containing recording equipment. A caretaker who attacks Nami is later found hanging in the kitchen, and a secret stairway leads up to a hidden attic room, a room that Nami has seen before in her childhood nightmares.

This film is very much like a video game. The first half hour or so is spent exploring the many rooms in which clues are found and secret doors revealed. There are some genuinely creepy moments, such as a blue-lit room filled with rotting dolls and some great camera work in the bathroom, where Nami is showering. The climax at film’s end involving the identity of Naomi is a little difficult to believe, but as it turns out to be just one ending out of an implied many (just like a video game) it is fairly easy to just go along with it. The characters are all quite likable, a fact which makes the multiple endings much appreciated. All in all, this is a decently clever film with an absence of violence in favor of a creepy atmosphere. It starts out a little slow, so impatient people be warned. The video game obsessed will appreciate this one.