I’ve been a bonafide horror junkie throughout my entire life, and some of my favourite human interactions have been with folks that do not understand my kind. I remember one particular instance when I was 18 years old – I had been watching Ringu, and it truthfully stressed me out so badly I had to take a break from it. I had a horror-avoidant friend ask me why I put myself through it, and I didn’t really have an answer. I suppose in my own defence horror is typically an enjoyable thing for me – I seldom get scared. Japanese horror though? Entirely different story.
That is what drew me to HANA. As aforementioned, my exploration of j-horror has been very limited because it freaks me right out. Put a creepy kid in the mix? No. Thank. You. But you know how the saying goes, ‘do one thing a day that scares you’ – And HANA definitely did.
What I dug about HANA initially was how atmospheric the whole thing was. I knew something was off, but couldn’t quite put my finger on the pulse of it. Throw in a shocking twist, and I’m fighting the urge to slam my computer screen shut. This was all very satisfying, after all the purpose of horror is to scare us – But what was even more impressive was the dramatic undertones of unintentional maternal neglect, a harrowing and often overlooked subject in society.
You see, this is what I love about the horror genre. Onlookers and naysayers try to tear it down, claiming it is mindless drivel appealing only to the depraved – But those of us attuned and admiring of this misunderstood genre know better. It can be entirely abstract, art of the highest form awaiting insightful interpretation. This is why I believe multilayered horror to be an absolute gift, and HANA proves that it is just as effective in small packages.