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(aka "Purei" or "Prayer" or "The Pray")


directed by Yuichi Sato
Japan 2005


Mitsuru (Tetsuji Tamayama) and Maki (Asumi Mizukawa) decide to abduct a little girl Ai and hold her for ransom at an abandoned school once attended by Mitsuru. Things don't go quite as planned when they call the parents and learn that the girl died a year ago. Have they abducted a ghost? Since this all happens before the opening credits, it's really not a spoiler and it's only a matter of a few minutes of actually suspenseful wandering around the halls of the school in search of the little girl (who should have conked out on the sleeping pills they gave her but is now pulling that creepy-kid stuff familiar from recent Asian horror films) before we're thrown another twist and yet another. When Mitsuru's three not-so-loyal pals arrive on the scene, a ghost girl may be the least of his problems. PRAY is one of the better entries in the Asian horror wave that was getting quite tired only a year or two after RINGU and JUON: THE GRUDGE. The supernatural element is conveyed with the usual Asian horror cinema aesthetics (loud musical stings and surround rumbling, long-haired figures moving past the extreme foreground or in the background around terrified characters) with the atypical addition of a little gore. The script, however, keeps things lively with some carefully placed and revealed plot-twists anchored by some ambiguity about Mitsuru - the only vaguely sympathetic of the quintet of kidnappers - and Tamayama's excellent lead performance. The film also manages a successful swerve from suspense to moving tragedy during the climax (offset by a disarming ending scene). A second viewing may be necessary for things to fall into place for not-so-attentive viewers but it may also allow a better appreciation of the plotting for those who got it all the first time.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 15 October 2005 (Japan)

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DVD Review: Tartan Video (Tartan Asia Extreme) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Tartan Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:16:51

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.58 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Japanese DTS 5.1; Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1; Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• The Making of PRAY (4:3; 11:12; in Japanese with optional English subtitles)
• Pray Q&A (4:3; 15:04; in Japanese with optional English subtitles)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; )

DVD Release Date: April 11, 2006

Chapters 15



Tartan presents PRAY in an interlaced (although not PAL-converted), anamorphic transfer with half-bitrate DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, and a good stereo downmix. The image looks a little dark and the combing is annoying on a progressive monitor but the presentation looks slicker on interlaced televisions. English subtitles identify the film as PRAYER while the English version of the onscreen title reads THE PRAY.

The making-of featurette is actually an extended interview with lead Tetsuji Tamayama intercut with behind the scenes footage. Tamayama also appears with director Yuichi Sato in the PRAY Q&A session. The film's trailer and trailers for other Tartan releases round out the extras.

 - Eric Cotenas


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Tartan Video

Region 1 - NTSC


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