Released in 1989. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Music by Masaya Matsuura.
“Sweet Home” is also known as “The Mamiya House”. This movie was released alongside a Famicon video game of the same title. Sweet Home inspired the Resident Evil game series released by Capcom.
A small film crew visits the old, abandoned mansion of famous artist Ichiro Mamiya, who left several precious frescos inside his house. The team wants to restore and publish the paintings and film a documentary about Mamiya and his arts. The team includes Kazuo (Shingo Yamashiro), his daughter Emi (Nokko), producer Akiko (Nobuko Miyamoto), photographer Taguchi (Ichiro Furutachi), and art restorer Asuka (Fukumi Kuroda). After they enter the mansion, paranormal events betray the presence of a poltergeist. They learn who haunts the mansion and what morbid tragedies occurred there. Everyone struggles to make it out alive!
I need to tell you a little about me before I jump into my opinion. I'm a horror superfan! And I have a particular interest in 80s horror movies. I love the era of horror before CGI. 80s horror movies made creative use of lighting and sound to scare you. The fear was backed by a slow buildup of the story that gave context to the severity of the movie's threat.
That being said, I think Sweet Home is an excellent horror classic. It's everything you'd expect a campy 80s horror movie to be. It's mysterious and strange. The pace begins slowly, trickling in playful jump scares until the poltergeist begins making its moves. Using possession and deadly heat rays(?), the menacing ghost picks off the humans one by one. Leading to the grand finale where you see the bulk of their special effects budget at work.
Sweet Home kept reminding me of Night of the Demons (1988) - learn more about it, watch the full movie on YouTube. Both movies consist of a group of people stuck in a haunted house (a house that looks so obviously a low-budget studio set, lol). Both movies involve possession and, in the end, focus on the furnace in the basement.
I think Sweet Home's production did a great job with the low budget they had. They aimed to scare you with eerie shadows and the insanity of the ghost that haunts the place. You need to love campy 80s horror movies to appreciate this movie. Otherwise, you'll probably find it boring. If you played the Famicon game, it's cool to see where the game referenced the movie.
The Famicon Game
The Sweet Home video game is a survival horror RPG developed and published by Capcom for the Japanese Famicon in 1989. It is based on the Japanese horror film featured on this page.
Just like the movie, the game tells the story of a team of five filmmakers exploring an old mansion in search of precious frescos hidden there. As they explore the mysterious mansion, they encounter hostile ghosts and other supernatural enemies. The player must navigate the intricately laid-out mansion, battling with the enemies. There is a permadeath system, so fallen characters cannot be resurrected. You must keep the characters alive with the limited weapons and health restorative items available. If you'd like to learn more, check out Daria Reviews Sweet Home.
Sweet Home was never released outside of Japan. However, the game has been unofficially translated to English by fans for fans. You can download it below.
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