Onibaba ★★★★½

“They say hell really exists. A hell of fire, a hell of fury, a hell for sinners.”

Kaneto Shindo’s Onibaba is a striking atmosphere- focused, slowly paced horror loosely inspired by a Buddhist parable. It’s imagery perfectly amplifies its precisely unfolding tension; slowly creating a dark and stifling world in the riverbank that focusses heavily on the violent weather and tall grass, coupled with sharp sound design to give the violent wind a menacing omnipresence as it approaches its finale. Its last thirty minutes is especially fantastic; with the methodically built tone masterly justifying its extensive set-up, leading to an awfully painful, horrifying finale. It doesn’t shy away from taking its time to prepare, but when it eventually hits, it hits hard, and is one of the most distinctively set and effectively told horror films I’ve ever seen.

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