Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Tales from the Dead is a four part anthology movie with a wrap-around featuring a medium who picks up a stranded woman on the roadside. What’s unusual is that while this is a Japanese film, the writer and director is an American. The stories feel like Japanese ghost tales, but there is an essential missing element here that keeps the stories from gelling into a cohesive unit.
The stories in the film are not interconnected, though considering the first specifically deals with the medium who is telling the stories, you’d assume that they all would feature her in some way. However, that’s not the case, and the movie suffers a bit for it. Without a common thread, the movie feels like four stories shoehorned together.
Additionally, while the first two stories aren’t bad, the third and fourth are weak, especially the fourth which is essentially a part of the wrap around story. It doesn’t help that most of the fourth story and all of the wrap around are shot in a pseudo-black and white that washes out too much of the emotion.
Compared to other anthology stories, Tales from the Dead simply falls flat in too many places. It almost feels like four television episodes for something like Tales from the Darkside or the Twilight Zone pasted together haphazardly.
A final note, and this is not the fault of the movie itself, but the quality of the streaming version on Netflix is very poor. It is not available in HD and it suffers for it. This movie, however, is not really worth a watch anyway.