Kagenuma is a sad, suicidal young man with a special ability: he can enter people's dreams and interact with them there. It's not his profession, and it's often dangerous, but he does it at times to help troubled individuals.
A mysterious individual known only as "0" ("Zero") appears to be involved in the brutally violent deaths of two apparent suicides. He somehow uses cellphone calls to get the would-be suicides to follow through on their inclinations, even if they really don't want to die. Guess this makes him a sort of Suicide Svengali.
Keiko Kirishima is a new detective who requested a transfer from her successful but unfulfilling work at the National Police Agency. She wanted something "tangible" but in this, her first "real" case, she's confronting the supernatural.
Keiko asks for Kirishima's assistance, but he initially refuses. He changes his mind and reluctantly agrees to help after first another detective, a handsome youngster named Wakamiya, and then Keiko herself place cell phone calls to "0" to lure him out, thereby putting themselves - surprise! - in grave danger.
Part police procedural, part X-files take-off, Nightmare Detective is a full bore thriller and psychodrama. It gets an 3.5 out of 4 star ACF rating (very highly recommended).
About the cast:
Hitmoi (born January 26, 1976) is a popular Japanese singer, songwriter, record label owner and executive, and animal rights activist. Her career is remarkable for its longevity and the fact that she's married, has children (twins), and took about a year and a half off from recording and performing during her pregnancy and after the children's' birth. Her only previous film work was in the "Nowhere" segment of the 2003 film Life Is Journey.
That makes Nightmare Detective her first substantial role and she acquits herself quite well. Somewhat slack-jawed, her mouth is often slightly opened, giving it a very sensual quality. I was particularly impressed with her handling of a difficult, lengthy scene in which all she has to react off of is "0"s voice on her cellphone.
Ryuhei Matsuda (born May 9, 1983) is a terrific young actor. I first came across him in the 2004 film Koi no mon (a.k.a. Otakus in Love) in which he played a young manga artist who puts his work on rocks! His filmography runs to 25, including Nightmare Detective 2 which is in pre-production and set for a 2008 release.
Shinya Tsukamoto (born January 1, 1960) is an extremely mulit-talented individual. As an actor he's appeared in 30 pictures, including Koi no mon and Ichi the Killer (a fave of mine). In addition to Nightmare Detective, he's appeared in, directed and written Tokyo Fist, the two Tetsuo films, Soseiji (a.k.a. Gemini, 1999, another fave), and the aforementioned upcoming Nightmare Detective 2.
Nightmare Detective will be playing at the Japan Society on Friday, July 6th, 2007 at 6:30 PM and on Sunday, July 8th, 2007 at 9:00 PM. For further info and to order tickets, click on the Japan Society JAPAN CUTS link below.
Shinya Tsukamoto, director and actor ("0") - imdb
Hitomi, actress (Keiko Kirishima): imdb, wikipedia
Ryuhei Matsuda, actor (Nightmare Detective) - imdb
Masanobu Ando, actor ((Detective Wakamiya) - imdb