The Chasing World (2008)

People with the surname “Sato” are unexpectedly dying across Japan. Student Tsubasa Sato is transported suddenly to a parallel world where “Satos” are being chased by masked figures by order of a malevolent king. When caught they are killed, their deaths correlating with a death in the first world. Ai Sato, Tsubasa’s comatose sister, and his alcoholic father are represented by doppelgangers in this new world, where they must run while Tsubasa attempts to discover the reason for the King’s contempt of that family name.

The film is low budget, and many of the special effects are noticeably so, however the design of the masks is original and the direction competent. While the story is weak, veering away from the source material excessively, there are a number of jump scares and creepy instances making it a decent action film. It feels, for the most part, like a cross between “The Twilight Zone” and “Doctor Who”, with the concept perhaps stretched at feature length. The acting is of varying quality, but passable for the most part as the story is largely action- rather than emotionally driven.

The film hints at ideas of duality and totalitarianism without making any definitive or stunningly revelatory point. Concepts such as the parallel worlds were interesting, though a number of plot-holes were occasionally distracting. A wasted concept, but shallow fun nonetheless.

Based on a novel by Yusuke Yamada.