A newscaster begins to see horrifying waking nightmares involving a young girl in this psychological horror. Reika (Yuka Masuda) is troubled by visions of various crimes she is reporting on, seeing the figure of a mysterious ghost appearing at each scene. Following a complete breakdown she is admitted to hospital where she meets a young girl Akane, who appears to be connected to these cases. Reika becomes unable to distinguish what is real as she starts to remember a tragedy that happened 10 years before.

“Juho 2045”, based on a story by Tomokazu Yamada with a screenplay by Erika Tanaka, follows many familiar horror tropes: a vengeful spirit, a mysterious past, and a protagonist with a slowly deteriorating psyche. The acting is melodramatic and the story predictable, but there are things to enjoy here. From the start there are some stunning visuals and solid special effects. It does a good job of creating an eerie atmosphere. It doesn’t take too long to unravel the central mystery, but with the added psychological elements there are a few surprises along the way. The chilling score by Ken Matsubara (G@me) also ramps up the tension, despite the inclusion of an ill-fitting pop song partway through.

The film leans on several popular themes, such as suicide, pregnancy, revenge and the horrors of the past coming back. It adds an interesting angle to the traditional ghost story in the claim that young spirits are less likely to act morally or logically, their sense of right and wrong being underdeveloped. This may however be a poor attempt to explain away the film’s lack of a logical plot. The story could have benefitted from more character development of Sachiko, the child’s mother, with her story not covered in too much detail. Also, the film sets up an interesting premise with Reika as a newscaster, ideas of the media perhaps pushing people to suicide, or the representation of crimes and tragedies in the news, being an angle that is not pursued in enough detail. Overall, “Juho 2405” is an entertaining horror, with strong visuals and a fun psychological element, but it could have done more with its themes and characters.

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