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Film / Cure

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"Madness. Terror. Murder."

Cure is a 1997 Japanese horror film written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

A series of brutal murders start happening all over the Tokyo area. All are committed by different, unrelated people, but there are two connections: All the victims have an x-shaped wound on their throats, and none of the killers can remember committing the crime. A detective investigating the case comes across a mysterious amnesiac who seems to be near every crime...


This film contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Ending: The film ends with Takabe seemingly inciting a waitress to commit murder, suggesting that he has been hypnotized by Mamiya into continuing his work. However, it is unclear whether this is in fact the case.
  • Arch-Enemy: Takabe has Mamiya, who spends the whole film psychologically tormenting him, and eventually drives him insane.
  • Big Bad: Kunihiko Mamiya is responsible for all the murders.
  • Brainwashed: Mamiya exposes other people to repetitive sounds to hypnotize them, implanting the suggestion to commit murders.
  • Calling Card: Each victim has an "X" carved into their bodies.
  • Defective Detective: Takabe is emotionally repressed and struggles to care for his wife, whose mental health is slowly deteriorating. This may have left him susceptible to Mamiya's manipulations.
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  • Downer Ending: Mamiya manages to completely break Takabe. This leads to the former's death, but the latter takes up his crimes and even kills his own wife.
  • Driven to Suicide: Sakuma becomes terrorized by hallucinations of being cornered by Mamiya, starts putting Xs on his walls, and eventually kills himself in his apartment.
  • Faking Amnesia: Mamiya seems to exhibit short-term memory loss, and acts constantly confused. It's all a lie to disguise his sociopathy.
  • The Immune: Takabe is immune to Mamiya's hypnosis (and the hypnosis "virus" in general), which is why Mamiya finds him so fascinating. In the end, however, he does end up submitting.
  • The Load: Takabe admits he views Fumie as this, and resents having to take care of her for her entire life even while fearing her death.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Mamiya "caught" the power of hypnosis from a century-old video at his university that shows an unseen hypnotist making an "X" over a patient, who later went on to kill her son in the exact manner the modern-day victims are killed.
  • More Than Mind Control: It's claimed that hypnosis can't make you do anything you don't already want to do, implying that Mamiya's powers (and the dormant hypnosis cult in general) are most effective when dealing with people who are dealing with repressed emotions, such as the policeman killing a colleague because he's resentful he did not get promoted.
  • One-Word Title
  • The Ophelia: Fumie is mentally unstable, but very beautiful and waiflike.
  • Police Brutality: Officers repeatedly have to be pulled off of suspects they're abusing. As this is 90s Japan, it's to be expected.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Mamiya isn't a practicing psychologist, but he was a student, and currently uses his knowledge to hypnotize others into becoming murderers.
  • Serial Killer: Kunihiko Mamiya, although he doesn't actually commit the crimes. Instead, he hypnotizes other people into doing so.
  • Shout-Out: The first scene features Takabe's wife reading "Bluebeard."
  • Slashed Throat: One of the only things tying the murders together is the "X" slashed across the throats of the victims.
  • The Sociopath: Kunihiko Mamiya, an amnesiac Serial Killer who hypnotizes people into committing the most brutal of atrocities, and loves to play mind games with the detective pursuing him.
  • Straw Misogynist: Mamiya doesn't exactly have healthy views about women.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Mamiya repays a man who shows him some hospitality by making him kill his wife.
  • Unseen Evil: The hypnotist from the 1898 video is never shown. Sakuba explains that he had likely protected his identity for legal and cultural reasons, but it's also creepy to consider that the events of the film were started by someone we never even see.