Inugami, according to the back of the dvd, are evil dog spirits. They are protected by women from the house of Bonomiya. Miki, a middle-aged papermaker in a remote village, and Akira, a new, young school-teacher, are the major characters.
Miki making paper.
A strong wind, or something, blows through the area and knocks down all the paper she has put out to dry.
A friend of hers, Sonoko, comes in complaining about her husband, Takanao.
Akira asks for a lift since he ran out of gas for his motorcycle. He explains that he's going to be the new junior-high teacher. Along the way they see various people who live in the area. Meanwhile, Takanao arrives at Miki and demonstrates what a complete jerk he is.
Akira learns that the Bonomiya family will be having their "ancestor rites" in two months. Takanao is supposed to be a priest and he's also the head of the family
Something is wrong with Akira.
He comes to at Miki's house. (Actually, the entire process of how she makes the paper is quite interesting to watch. The scenery shots so far in the film are also very beautiful.)
She has a nightmare and gets up then hears a strange voice.
A guy they call "the hunter" has killed 999 animals and says he was told in a dream that the 1000th was to be an animal that was threatening the village.
Akira stops at Miki's place and asks her to show him how she's making paper.
The second part of the film starts. Part 1 was an excellent documentary on the making of paper. It had one freakish wind using a rippling special effect and a little nudity. (About a half hour has elapsed of a film that will run 1 hr. 45 minutes)
A guy named Seiji has been called in by his grandmother who is at the family altar and she starts talking about Miki having the "Inugami curse".
One of the people living there has noticed that Miki is not using her glasses any more, and that her hair seems to be less gray than it was.
Next is a scene of a murder/suicide.
There's a major thunderstorm and Akira and Miki take shelter in a cave. She recounts how, when she was younger, she fell for the wrong man (something which becomes very important later in the film) and ended up getting pregnant. She was told that her baby died during birth.
She then comes on to Akira. They proceed to have sex while in the cave.
Her mother is going to explain to her about the Inugami. Apparently only the women of the family know about the Inugami and the men wouldn't even be able to see them. Only the mother, Miki and Rika can actually see them. It's the women's job, the mother says, to look into the urn each day and count them and if any of them get out they can cause trouble to other families.
The mother says that, lately, lots of them have been missing each night and she has a bad feeling about that.
The mother wants Miki to look into the urn and see the things for herself.
The third part of the film begins. As for the second part, about twenty more minutes has elapsed. In that time there was some more nudity. There was something about how some of the others in the community don't care for Miki or her family.
Akira comes to visit her while she's making the dye for the paper and they have sex again.
Something has gone wrong with someone.
The girl who delivers the papers has fallen off her bike and is having a seizure, apparently. The townsfolk are blaming the women from the Bonomiya family for what is going on.
She finds out that what is like a city council wants to cut down a lot of trees and take on their land and take it for a country club, including the land that Miki uses to make her paper on. Takanao is behind some of this. (Miki and the group of people who live with her are a "branch" family, and Takanao belongs to the "main" family which can give the orders.)
Akari is visiting Seiji and explaining some calligraphy to him, translating part of Lao Tzu's writings. Miki comes in to confront Seiji's mother who is behind the plot to destroy the woods. Miki gets called a bitch and has a lot of verbal abuse thrown her way. Right at the end of the chapter the mother basically disintegrates.
The next part of the film begins.
Takano attacks a bunch of people then beats up his own wife, stepping viciously on her.
Akira quits his job, supposedly due to the rumors about him and Miki being an item.
The creep grabs on to Miki. He then tries to rape her but she manages to push him off and beat him with her purse. <,p>
The villagers come in to destroy her workshop.
He wants her to move to the city with him.
This explains a lot that has been happening in the last few minutes at Miki's parent's place where Akira had gone to tell them he wanted to marry Miki.
The fifth part of the film starts. The fourth part managed to see Akira, the villagers reveal their viciousness and stupidity and Miki is either possessed or driven into madness.
Seiji is communicating with Akira and telling him that there has been fog in the village every night since he left and Miki has locked herself away. Akira says that, if he takes Miki away from the village, she will age instantly and crumble into dust.
Seiji tells him that even the family has turned against her, and she's pregnant. Suddenly the computer he's using starts to malfunction. Maggots fall off the screen.
Suddenly there's a bright light in the sky. Sonoko, one of the women, has gone crazy and they find her hanging from a tree in the forest. Another nude scene follows as the women wash her body.
(music from Close Encounters of the Third Kind starts playing)
A nurse shows up and says the night Miki had her baby she switched babies with a woman whose baby had died. The nurse is also part of the family. And, of course, the baby turns out to be Akira. The villagers, meanwhile, are cutting down the forest and apparently plan to burn the entire family to death.
The Ancestor Rites are being held. (This part of the film is in black and white.)
Some of the women are poisoned but Akira tries to help the others get away.
Takanao tries to kill Miki from behind and Akira hits him in the head with a hatchet.
The hunter shoots Akira. He doesn't die (at least not right away) and tells Miki that they can use his bike to get out of the area. There is an indication that he lives and they do get away. This contradicts what Akira told Seiji earlier on the computer, that he was worried that if Miki left the area she would age rapidly, but that was based on what he thought at the time that she might be a thousand years old, not just possessed by her mother's ghost as she actually was.
Positive things about the film: It's an excellent introduction to the process of making paper by hand. There's beautiful scenery. Several of the actresses are quite attractive. It lasts less than two hours.
Negative things about the film: How shall I count the ways? As far as a horror film goes, there's more nudity than horror in the film. It's an example of how easily people can become hate-filled when something happens that they don't understand. The "evil dog spirits" are represented as being temporary blurs on the screen and are not in the remotest way suggestive of a dog in appearance.
Takanao has "no redeeming social values", as the courts would say, and is simply lazy and crazy, in the opposite order. There is absolutely no explanation given to why Miki ages in reverse and only a very short mention is made of it by any of the characters. The nurse who said the babies were switched just happens to be a member of the family? How unbelievable is that? Outside of the fact that she was obviously not operating on full thrusters.
If there's a problem with things escaping the urn, they why not put a lid on the thing?
Then the whole thing about the villagers apparently planning to kill all the family during the ancestral rites yet they do absolutely nothing; it's Takanao who is the murderer, not them. The whole thing ends up confusing with a few gross special effects thrown in a few times, maybe to be able to add "horror" to the description?
Overall an incredibly bad movie. Watch the first half hour to learn how paper is made by hand and then turn the movie off.
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