Plot: An abandoned school is to serve as the locale for a modeling shoot, with three young, beautiful girls lined up for their first ever sessions. After they arrive, things start off as expected and the photographer prepares for the shoot, but soon some strange things happen. The school has an eerie vibe as it is, but then someone dies in a most horrific fashion. The corpse is mangled and twisted, with the face locked in a look of sheer terror, but it doesn’t seem like there is evidence of a killer, let alone one that contort someone like this. As it turns out, some kind of supernatural force seems to be at work and once it possesses a victim, it breaks, bends, and disfigures them from the inside, leaving them a mangled mess. But what is this malevolent force and can anyone survive this paranormal assault?
Entertainment Value: I like the premise of Alter Ego, an unseen, mysterious force killing people in brutal, twisted fashion, but the movie itself winds up as passable at best. The narrative is thin, putting us in an old school with a modeling shoot crew, who then begin to die off, one by one. I did like the psychological potential, as such an odd, horrific kind of experience could push people to the brink, but aside from some mild sanity checks, Alter Ego doesn’t explore that aspect much. As for horror, the movie isn’t that scary, but does have some offbeat, creepy moments, most of which revolve around the contortions of death or bizarre behavior in the wake of possession. The cast is fine and I think the involvement of Takashi Shimizu is what has put Alter Ego on most radars, though he is just a producer in this case. So if you’re hoping for a lost J-horror classic, this isn’t it, but it does have some interesting moments.
No nakedness. This one has no real romance or sexual content, so it makes sense that no naked flesh is showcased. This one also has no blood, as the kills are internal and just bend, twist, and contort the victims into gross positions. The effects are cheap, but creepy at times, with a lot of speed up of the video to make things eerie, as well as reversing the video, so and so forth. So there’s no bloodshed in Alter Ego and the effects are mostly basic and cheap, but some of them work. The dialogue is bland, just pushing exposition and little else. But I am going to award one point for the horrific, creepy laughs heard, as they’re fun. In terms of craziness, the whole twisty, mangled corpse thing is worth a point and the creepy twins angle is fun, but otherwise this one isn’t that outlandish.
Overall Insanity: 2/10