Museum (Myûjiamu) (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A detective who’s wife has recently left with their son is put on a series of cases that may be from a serial killer. Solving these cases soon becomes even more important than just for his career.

Based on the manga Museum: The Serial Killer Is Laughing In The Rain by Ryôsuke Tomoe, the film is written by Izumi Takahashi, Kiyomi Fujii, and Keishi Ohtomo and directed by Keishi Ohtomo. Together they create a police procedural with a few twists that is absolutely predictable. A few twists were not so, but they were too few and far in-between to save the story. The basic story here is decent in and of itself, but the way it develops takes the viewer down a road far too familiar for this type of film. The killer has some interest, the design of his mask is pretty cool and unusual and his murders have a reasoning. However, this reasoning is either badly represented or something was lost in translation. As the film advances, the moves by lead detective Hisashi Sawamura are exactly what one would expect and so are the actions of the killer in most moments. This paired with a police department that seems disorganized at best, leads to the viewer figuring out their next moves before they do and expecting less and less out of the film as it moves along.

Playing the lead of Hisashi Sawamura, a part that is a typical police detective with mildly annoying low capacities in terms of deduction and logic at times, is Shun Oguri who does as best he can with the material. The way the film is written makes it hard to figure out if the odd choices by Shun Oguri are his doing or based on the script and/or direction so his performance is hindered by this and harder to evaluate fairly. The rest of the cast does ok as well for most of the runtime with a few truly odd acting choices which ones again are most likely due to script and/or direction.

Thankfully, not everything is predictable and dull throughout the film. The special effects are quite on point with corpses, gore, and other effects working fantastically well, adding a level of repulsiveness that is very welcomed. The murder victims have increasing level of complexity as the film moves along, something the effects team took and ran with, showing that they are quite talented and knowledgeable in how to create this while keeping a level of realism to make these effects work as best possible for the viewer.

Museum is a film that has a lot of potential but unfortunately squanders it through a predictable script and very few twists that are not seen from a mile away. The performances reflect the script and direction in that they seem to be a bit lost in the content and not fully aware of what they are supposed to portray in terms of emotions. The effects are good and show talent from the crew behind them, but they are not quite enough for Museum to be a recommended watch for horror fans or even cop procedural fans.

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 13th to August 2nd.