Tomie: Rebirth

The Spoony One | Aug 10 2009 | more notation(s) | 
Tomie: Rebirth

A Review by Noah Antwiler

Ah Tomie, my sweet. Once again we meet in yet another sequel. You keep coming back to haunt the shelves of my Blockbuster video, and to the last I grapple with thee! How can so many movies be churned out of one lame gimmick? Nightmare on Elm Street, this ain't, and Elm Street was never that good anyway. Yet I have a funny (see: Stupid) belief that there must be one redeemable movie out of a series this huge. Someone eventually has to get it right. This isn't a terribly hard premise to build a movie around: an immortal devil-woman systematically seduces and drives men to violence with her feminine wiles (see: Boobies). Yet in every Tomie film I've yet seen, the series has a particularly amusing twist to it: Tomie is a terrible, ineffective demon! Oh sure, she drives the dudes nuts and spurs them into killing sprees that would make any postal worker proud. The problem is that all of these killing sprees end up with the boyfriend killing Tomie herself! She's a plucky one, though. She keeps regenerating again and again to wreak her unholy sexy vengeance on a male dominated society.

She's the kind of chick that turns heads, like Jessica Rabbit or that anthropomorphic fox on the Animaniacs. You rubbed one out to her, admit it! It's such a bummer that, considering it's a movie about a succubus who cockteases men to murder, that Tomie spends the entire time dressed like a Mormon pre-law student going to seminary. She's never in a slinky dress, never in a swimsuit, never shows us tits or ass, and rarely even shows her face. It's hard to relate to these guys impaling each other with umbrellas for a bitch who's got the wardrobe of a Wal-Mart discount rack at Christmas-time. And she never puts out, I mean what the hell? If I'm gonna kill someone for a lady she'd better at least give me head or something. I have standards.

Anyway. The movie starts out same as ever. A youthful artist, Takumi, has Tomie posed on a chair for his latest oil painting. She gets bored and slashes up the painting. So he takes a trowel and stabs her in the throat (told ya, a really terrible demon). To be fair, if anyone slashed up a painting of mine I'd probably drag her bleeding corpse out into the woods and pummel her corpse into mulch with a shovel, too. Color him surprised when Tomie crawls out of her grave and surprises him at a birthday party, all smiles and chuckles like nothing's wrong. He's freaked out, but he shouldn't be. Think about it, most of the time when you butcher your girlfriend with a piece of gardening equipment it usually means the relationship is over. But if she can forgive that, she's gotta be something special, y'know? But I suppose I can understand his frustration; talk about a hard girl to break up with. You've tried "It's over," "We should see other people," a restraining order, and wrapping her in a plastic sheet and pounding her with a spade until she stopped moving. What's a guy gotta do?

It's at this point I realized after 3 movies I still really have no idea what Tomie's motivation is. She seems to enjoy tormenting men a great deal, but seems genuinely insulted-- nay, shocked-- when they cave her skull in with trenching equipment. As if they thought their relationship was just fine, what with the multiple homicides, umbrella impalings, and mass suicides. She never manages to muster up any kind of real scares, though. No tentacles or dripping mandibles, just an unfortunate tendency to stumble into flammable liquid at the slightest nudge and a head that seems to be a fucking shovel-magnet. Has to be seen to be believed.

The actress who plays this particular incarnation of Tomie is a petite, demure-looking lass with eyes so big and round she looks like a Grey Alien. Whereas the previous ones were spiteful (in the first case) or manic (in the second), this one portrays her as a passive-aggressive ballbuster-with-a-smile. Anyway, most of the film involves Takumi's surprisingly complicated love life and Tomie's quest to destroy it. In this way it's a little bit of a departure from form, in that Tomie spends most of her time inciting the women in Takumi's life to violence. Apparently not her forte; she really has to work at it unlike her usual method of exercising her supernatural deathgrip on the scrotums of all men.

Is 'scrotums' a word? I think it's 'scrota'. The scrota of all men.

That's your word for the day. Pack that one away. You'll use it.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Testicles. It's not long before Tomie's grinding away on Takumi's like a pair of Chinese worry-balls. He gets whipped back into her thrall quickly, doing shit work like cleaning the house and scrubbing the old-people stink out of the oak furniture. I find that old people usually smell like cat hair, vegetable soup and the inside of a bottle of vitamins. Takumi's mom notices this rather disturbing trend and garrotes Tomie in her sleep, lops her head off with a bonesaw, and stores it in a salad bowl. Worst. Demon. Ever! She and Takumi chop up her body, stuff the limbs in garbage bags, and share a genuine bonding moment as they carry her dismembered corpse to a convenient dumpster. (As soon as Tomie dies, her power over a dude is broken. It's like a Band-Aid: one motion, right off!)

But if you know Tomie, you know that decapitation is a minor annoyance. She just sprouts some vestigial neck-stump-hands and scurries after him, claiming that this is nothing they can't work out in therapy. Fortunately, Takumi's mom is a resourceful ol' gal and saves her son's ass again by plucking her up by the hair, sidearming her into an incinerator, and burning her to a cinder. This is why you should always send your mom something nice on the holidays. Buuuut again, if you know Tomie, you know that she's harder to get rid of than a Nickelback CD. She's not just a demon, she's a virus. Through a series of events too stupid to recount, she infects and kills Takumi's mom (off-camera, no less), and also manages to psychically possess one of Takumi's ex-girlfriends. Now she's turning into Tomie, a devil-woman who can replicate from trace cells on shared tubes of lipstick.

Yeah. Told ya. Stupid. Want a better one? She can replicate out of a painting of herself. I'm really getting too old for this shit.

What I find really funny is that Tomie Clones don't even like each other. The latter act of the movie is all about Takumi being stalked by clones, each acting catty to one another and demanding that Takumi kill the copies. So he does. He tries to save his infected ex-girlfriend, hoping that the power of love will bring back her suppressed personality.

It doesn't. She throws his stupid ass off a cliff, which could be Tomie's first ever official, honest-to-god successful homicide! Hey hey, I think her losing streak could be at an end!

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