Carved (2007)

Carved (Other titles: Kuchisake-onna, Slit-mouthed woman)

Directed by:
Kouji Shiraishi (Has also made famous movies like the curse and teketeke)




Kyoko Yamashita (Played by Eriko Sato)  is working as a teacher, one day she sees one of her students being kidnapped by Kuchisake-onna and she tries with help of Noboru to solve the mystery. During the search of the kidnapped children she slowly understands more about herself and realize that she, just as Noboru, has to repair whats done wrong in the past before it’s too late.

Noboru Matsuzaki (Played by Haruhiko Kato) is working as a teacher on the same school as Kyoko. He can hear the voice of Kuchisake-onna everytime she is about to abduct a person. Through the movie we get to know more and more about his past and how he is related to Kuchisake-onna.

Mayumi Sasaki (played by Chiharu Kawai) is the mother to the second child that are abducted by Kuchisake-onna. In the beginning of the movie we can see her hitting her daughter Mika. During the first half of the movie after her daughters kidnapping she is mostly waiting for the police to find Mika, but after some time she decides to search after her daughter on her own.

Carved is based on a Japanese urban legend, kuchisake-onna (the slit-mouthed woman). The rumors about Kuchisake-onna is spread among students and only gets worse when a student is abducted by a woman that wears a white mask over her mouth. After the first students kidnapping it’s decided that the teachers should follow the students home so that more children aren’t abducted by that woman. Even so more children are kidnapped by the mystic woman and Kyoko, that saw one of the kidnappings, tries to find the woman. Together with Noboru that seems to know a lot more about the kidnapper than he tells, they slowly gets closer to the children.


The legend:

As I told you in the plot info, carved is based on the urban legend kuchisake-onna. In the legend Kuchisake-onna was a woman that got her mouth slit by her husband and then she got killed. After that she often appeared in parks when people walked alone. She asked them if they thought she were beautiful and most people would say yes since there were nothing wrong with her looks when she had the mask on. Once they had said yes she would take off the mask and show her slit mouth and ask if she still were beautiful. If the person said no then she would kill them, if they said yes then she would cut their face so they got the same scar as her. If they said that she looked average or so-so she would get confused and the person would have a chance to run away.

Now in the movie version they have changed a lot, since she got killed in a different way than in the legend it isn’t that surprising that a lot has changed. Kuchisake-onna doesn’t appear only when people are alone, she has kidnapped children right in front of peoples eyes a lot of times. Also even though she asks her question a lot of times she doesn’t seem to care about an answer and she can kill people or slit their mouth without getting an answer at all.

I am a bit disappointed that they didn’t keep the original legend but I still think the new Kuchisake-onna was good. It wasn’t what I expected which probably was what made the movie much better than it actually was.

I don’t think there was anything wrong with the plot. They took a legend that already existed, which make it a bit unoriginal, but then they re-make the whole legend into something new and makes it fit into a problem the society had in the movie. Child abuse is a big topic in the movie even though it’s still kept on the side. It appears exactly the right number of times for the public to realize the message, but they don’t overuse it nor is it used to few times.

Kuchisake-onna doesn’t appear as much as the bad person usually does in movies, the movie feels a bit more like a mystery movie than a horror movie at some points since it doesn’t happen that much before the end of the movie. The movie isn’t that scary except for a jump scare and two scenes where they fight. It’s more emotional and focuses more on the characters feeling than the horror.

The music in carved was put out very well. It wasn’t overused at all and almost every scene that had music was scenes that really needed music so that we would be able to get the right feeling. Both in emotional scenes and in horror scenes they were able to give the best kind of music to get the right kind of feeling to the scene. The music made it feel like I were in a somewhat older film, it didn’t feel like music used 2007.

But even so there were some parts where they used the wrong kind of music that didn’t make me get into the right feeling at all. Some parts only made it annoying which I don’t think were the intention. But overall they had very good music.

They were able to get into the characters for most parts, I think there were a few times when some people seemed to loose character a bit. The only one I thought really much about were a boy that were at the police station to tell the police what he knew about the kidnappings. At first he doesn’t talk at all and once they get him to talk then he goes a bit too fast forward even though it would be more natural to be more uncertain. But you can’t ask too much of a child, and maybe it was the directors intention to make it like that.


Plot: 3.5/5
Music: 4/5
Effects: 3/5
Scare-rate: 1.5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

Carved is a really good movie as long as you aren’t searching after a real horror movie. It has its scary points but for the most its just as any other movie about a kidnapping murderer. I wouldn’t suggest this as your Halloween scary movie, but it can be a very good choice for a normal Friday night.


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