Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman
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|Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kōji Shiraishi|
|Produced by||Saori Yabe|
|Written by||Kōji Shiraishi|
|Music by||Gen Wano |
|Edited by||Shūichi Kakesu|
Twin Co. Ltd.
Earl Grey Film
|Distributed by||Tornado Film|
|Budget||$34.6 million|
|Box office||$45.9 million|
Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (口裂け女 Kuchisake-onna) (also known as A Slit-Mouthed Woman) is a 2007 Japanese horror film directed by Kōji Shiraishi and written by Shiraishi and Naoyuki Yokota. Based on the Japanese urban legend known as Kuchisake-onna, or "the Slit-Mouthed Woman", the film stars Eriko Sato as Kyōko Yamashita, a divorced mother and teacher who attempts to solve a series of child abduction cases with the help of her co-worker Noboru Matsuzaki, played by Haruhiko Kato.
The film was followed by a prequel, Carved 2: The Scissors Massacre, in 2008.
As stories about Kuchisake-onna ("The Slit-Mouthed Woman") spread through a Japanese town, an earthquake causes a corpse matching the entity's description (a woman with long hair, a trench coat, scissors, and a white mask) to break out of a closet in an abandoned house. As that occurs, Noboru Matsuzaki, an elementary school teacher, hears a voice ask "Am I pretty?" At a playground, a boy who had gone looking for the Kuchisake-onna with his friends is grabbed by the creature, which vanishes with him.
The boy's disappearance prompts the school where Noboru works to send the students home in groups, escorted by members of the staff. Mika Sasaki is reluctant to go home, admitting to a teacher, Kyōko Yamashita, that her mother hits her. Kyōko (who has a troubled relationship with her own daughter, who lives with her ex-husband) becomes agitated when Mika says she hates her mother, causing Mika to run away, right into the arms of the Kuchisake-onna, whose appearance was again foreshadowed by Noboru hearing a voice ask "Am I pretty?" As the Kuchisake-onna leaves with Mika, Mika knocks her mask off, revealing the woman's disfigured face.
At school, Noboru shows Kyōko a photograph of a woman who looks like the Kuchisake-onna. Noboru hears the voice again; as he heads toward it with Kyōko, he tells her that the picture is thirty years old. Noboru traces the voice to a house, and he and Kyōko save the boy inside from Kuchisake-onna, whom Kyōko kills with a knife. Kuchisake-onna's body turns into that of a neighboring housewife, revealing that the spirit acts by possessing other women, whose infection is signified by them developing a cough.
Noboru tells Kyōko that the woman in the photo is Taeko Matsuzaki, his dead mother, a sickly and unhinged woman who would physically abuse him and his siblings. One day, Taeko "disappeared" after killing Noboru's siblings, and after that, rumors and sightings of Kuchisake-onna began. Noboru again hears the voice of Kuchisake-onna, who has possessed the mother of Mika's friend, Natsuki Tamura. Natsuki is taken to Kuchisake-onna's lair, where the spirit cuts Natsuki's mouth and murders the boy she had abducted from the playground. Mika cuts the ropes binding Natsuki, who escapes, but is too traumatized and injured to help with the search for Mika.
Kyōko looks through information on the Kuchisake-onna that the boy she saved had given her, and finds a note stating that Kuchisake-onna's hideout is a deserted house with a red roof, a description which matches Noboru's childhood home. As he searches the house with Kyōko, Noboru remembers that his mother tried to have him mercy kill her, telling him that unless he decapitated her, she would come back and haunt others. Instead, Noboru slit his mother's mouth and stabbed her, then dressed her body up in coat and mask, and hid it in the closet.
Kyōko and Noboru find Mika in the basement, and are attacked by the Kuchisake-onna. The Kuchisake-onna wounds Kyōko, then captures Noboru and Mika, takes them down to the basement, and brutalizes them. Finding a knife, Kyōko stabs the Kuchisake-onna in the neck with it, killing and leaving behind the body of Natsuki's mother. Mika's mother, who had gone off to look for her daughter on her own, arrives at the house, and becomes the new host of the Kuchisake-onna. To give Kyōko and Mika the chance to escape, Noboru fends off the Kuchisake-onna but is fatally wounded. Before dying, he beheads her, convinced that doing so will finally vanquish her. The decapitation fails to stop the Kuchisake-onna, and some time later, the spirit takes over Kyōko while she is visiting her daughter.
- Eriko Sato as Kyōko Yamashita
- Haruhiko Kato as Noboru Matsuzaki
- Younger version portrayed by Hiroto Ito
- Chiharu Kawai as Mayumi Sasaki
- Rie Kuwana as Mika Sasaki
- Sakina Kuwae as Natsuki Tamura
- Yûto Kawase as Masatoshi Kita
- Saaya Irie as Shiho Nakajima
- Runa Okada as Shiho's friend
- Rio Iguchi as Shiho's friend
- Kazuyuki Matsuzawa as Hideo Tamura
- Kaori Sakagami as Saori Tamura
- Ryoko Takizawa as Kazuko Yoshida
- Mei Tanaka as Yukiko Yoshida
- Aoi Shimoyama as Shingo Kuwabata
- Yūrei Yanagi as Detective Kubo
- Kōichirō Nishi as Kyōko's Ex-Husband
- Hiroto Itō as Young Noboru Matsuzaki
- Ayu Kanesaki as Ai Ôno
- Miki Mizuno as Taeko Matsuzaki / Kuchisake-onna
The film was released on DVD by Tartan Video on Aug 14, 2007. Tartan later re-released the film as a part of a 3-disk combo pack with Sheitan, and Slaughter Night on Oct 13, 2009. It was last released on DVD by E1 Entertainment on Oct 11, 2011.
Russell Edwards of Variety gave the film a mixed review, describing it as a "low-budget chiller that is unlikely to join the international remake stampede", though he noted that it "has an unsettling quality that transcends its cheap origins". Adam Hakari, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, writing that it "does a passable job of touching upon some heavy issues while not forgetting to sate the appetite of gorehound fans. Still, the film so often comes close to greatness that viewers may find themselves disappointed when their expectations are -- pardon the pun -- cut short."
Andre Manseau of Arrow in the Head gave the film a score of 3 out of 4, calling it "risky, brutal and unsettling" and "a good film that is intense and scary". Adrian Halen of HorrorNews.net gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, commending Mizuno's performance and writing that "A top contender for becoming a classic, Carved is a story that adds a new mythos into the horror arena." Justin Felix of DVD Talk awarded the film 3 out of 5 stars, writing that "The central protagonists are not conceived well, but the titular antagonist is - and there's atmosphere enough to get the audience to the end point."
- "Carved (2007) - Shiraishi Koji". AllMovie.com. Allmovie. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- Edwards, Russell (12 March 2007). "The Slit-Mouthed Woman". Variety. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- Hakari, Adam. "Say 'AHHH!' - ReelTalk Movie Reviews". ReelTalkReviews.com. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- Manseau, Andre. "Carved - Horror Movie News - Arrow in the Head". JoBlo.com. Archived from the original on 25 May 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
- Halen, Adrian (12 December 2018). "Film Review: Carved: The Slit Mouthed Woman (2007)". HorrorNews.net. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
- Felix, Justin. "Slit-Mouthed Woman". DVD Talk. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
- "The Scissors Massacre (Kuchisake-onna 2) (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 March 2017.