Woman of the Photographs (2020) Review

I do love J-Horror, so when Woman of the Photographs appeared on the list for Frightfest.  I was excited.  The film had attracted critical acclaim following it’s appearance at Fantasia. 

I will say from the outset that I would not categorise this film as Horror.  At All.


  A former prima ballerina, Kyoko has apparently become a lifestyle influencer on Instagram. 

Kai is less the misogynist described in the logline, and more convincingly terrified of Kyoko and his developing feelings. It is revealed that he has never had a girlfriend.  That much is obvious to the point of comedy.  Kai spends the majority of the film being unable to speak to Kyoko and when there is a sex scene it is fast and awkward.  Kai’s fear of being consumed by his feelings is portrayed by the deliberate

The film does provide an interesting commentary on our obsession with our image social media and there is a powerful piece of dialogue between Kyoko and a young woman who comes to the studio to have her photos retouched.

I believe myself reflecting in the eyes of others is my true self […] because we love ourselves through others eyes

The sentiment expressed in those lines will haunt me, especially as it beautifully summarises this generations obsession with obtaining likes and followers on social media.

The Woman of the Photographs deftly shows the dark side of being an influencer.  When Kyoko meets

Whilst the characters are an apparent contrast to each other, I am not convinced that they  develop in a meaningful way.  Kai apparently loses his fear of speaking to Kyoko, and she gets the medical help she so desperately needs.  However, this there overall character arcs are lacking, as is the plotline which does not culminate in a way that would be appealing to the horror audience.   Whilst there are comedic elements, it falls short of being able to call itself a comedy-horror.

This film is an unusual watch, and a disappointing one at that.

Movie Rating: ★

★ ½ ☆ ☆ 



Heather Byrnes


Heather's love of horror began way too early with classics such as The Thing, The Fly and Alien. She was later to fall in love with J-horror after seeing The Ring and The Grudge. Now Heather reviews some of the best films from across the genre. She prides myself on a straightforward and honest approach to her reviews. She isn't afraid to get under the skin of filmmakers during interviews. She is now on the path to writing and directing her own films and enjoys a wide variety of films from across the genre, from black comedy to torture porn. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. instagram:

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