Woman of the Photographs (FrightFest 2020) review – a beautiful reflection of obsession

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 23, 2020 (Last updated: February 13, 2024)


Woman of the Photographs is a beautiful horror that reflects the desire to be seen as perfect while hiding the flaws people have.

Woman of the Photographs is a Japanese film and the feature debut from director Takeshi Kushida, starring a relatively unknown cast of Hideki Nagai, Itsuki Otaki, Toshiaki Inomata, and Toki Koinuma.

Woman of the Photographs starts as we meet the timid but expert photographer Kai (Nagai) who helps the neighborhood brush up their photos without passing any sort of judgment on them. On Kai’s day off he searches the local forest for wildlife shots, when he comes across Kyoko (Otaki) a beautiful woman with a scar across her upper chest and hidden behind her hair, a model in Kyoko has her own following, but sees that Kai could help remove the scars adding a more pure layer to her beauty, something she starts to crave in real life and the two start to get closer.

Woman of the Photographs is a slow-burning horror that starts with the timid reclusive mute figure that will complete a job, who meets a woman who is obsessed with the celebrity lifestyle, even if her scars will make this harder for her to achieve. Having the two people Kai and Kyoko falling in love despite coming from very different worlds is what makes this love story feel even more twisted with the idea that they can only complete each other’s desires, rather than helping them grow, this story will cover obsession in a scary light that will leave the characters only wanting more to survive.

Woman of the Photographs has performances from Hideki Nagai who brings to life the mute timid photographer, showing how the routine of life has started to take a toll on him, while never looking negative about where his life is going, while Itsuki Otaki shows the desire to become a celebrity and shows us just how easily it can consume her with her performance through the film.

Woman of the Photographs brings us a horror which will step into moments of body horror as we see the scars bleeding and how the slow peeling of the top layer will occur, using the close-ups for added effect. We get the added side story of the relationship between praying mantises, which is the pet of Kai, using the close-up consumption moments to show how life can eat away at people too.

Woman of the Photographs is a film that doesn’t go for the pure shock or scares, it builds up the tension in a way that will show you just how two people can complete each other in a world that often feels empty, while we look to consume everything.

Movie Reviews