Friday, February 5, 2021

To Tokyo Review: A Surreal Horror Film

Robert Smith	...	Step-Father Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Florence Kosky	Florence Kosky	...	Al Emily Seale-Jones	Emily Seale-Jones	...	Zoe Luke Edward Smith	Luke Edward Smith	...	Jake

Release date: February 2, 2021
Running time: 91 minutes
Starring: Florence Kosky, Emily Seale-Jones, Luke Edward Smith, Robert Smith
Written and Directed By: Caspar Seale Jones

In an ancient Japanese village (filmed on location) lurks a silent, strange, English girl named Alice. Alice is hiding from her monstrous Step-father when an actual Monster drags her into the diverse, beautiful, wilderness of her traumatized mind (filmed on location in South Africa). Here she finds herself face to face with her inner demons that threaten to consume her. With her mind on the line, Alice has four nights to traverse the dreamscape, confront her inner demon, and make it to the neon, metropolis: TOKYO! Where she will have to face all the other monsters in her life if she wants to heal her family.

Lydia Gandaa	...	assistant producer Savannah James-Bayly	...	assistant producer Trevor Jones	...	executive producer Victoria Seale	...	producer
To Tokyo has really good production values for an indie horror film.  It has a sharp camera, some interesting effects, and a bright style at times as the film traverses the various dreamscapes.  And I love that this movie was filmed on location in both Japan and South Africa, giving it a sense of authenticity.  Everything looks natural because that is how the movie was made.  And the film definitely feels like an art piece, with little to no dialogue and an overall dreamlike feel.  The film feels bold and artistic, with more of an avant garde style than I was expecting.  But when it needs to feel more like a horror film, when Alice is hiding from her own demons, the movie has a great sense of dread and tension.  And when it needs to be creepy, the film dials that up as well, putting the viewers on edge.

And this movie definitely feels surreal at times, with dreamlike sequences that Alice has to overcome.  It makes the film feel like one long dream as Alice explores some parts of her mind and past traumas.  However, the film does occasionally let the art aspects of the movie overtake the general storytelling, with Alice jumping to various strange locales as she navigates these thoughts.  And adding to that is the film's general lack of dialogue, which is intriguing but also leads to some confusing scenes at times when you don't quite know what to expect.  At the end of the film, I was appreciative of the journey but I wasn't sure I understood much more about Alice's situation and personal demons.  And the film also has a generally slow pace that fits the dreamlike state of much of it.  Overall, To Tokyo is an experience, a film that does the most with its indie budget and will leave you with an astonished, if slightly confused feeling.

To Tokyo is a surreal film, with an art house feel, high production values, and a sense of wonder and dread.  

Watch it.

horror surreal dream dreamscape tokyo japan south africa
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To Tokyo is available digitally and on demand on February 2, 2021. 

For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.

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