Temple could quite easily have been a lot better with just a few changes. Unfortunately, it’s all too stereotypical and anything but innovative.
Temple is very much a horror-mystery-thriller type deal. As such, it could’ve been a very interesting movie, but too many wrong turns ruin that possibility.
When Temple first began, I was definitely intrigued and hoped this might be something different. There’s a vibe reminiscent of Mr. Nobody, which I really liked. However, in this movie, it’s just a small plot device that doesn’t amount to much.
And sure, my expectations were probably set too high because the script was written by Simon Barrett. He wrote the script for You’re Next which is always among my favorite action horror movies.
Of course, he also wrote the script for Blair Witch, which is another example of something I thought I’d love. Or actually, that was when it was promoted as The Woods and had the most intriguing trailer.
Also, it has been announced that he’ll be writing the remake of the brilliant Korean movie I Saw the Devil.
Temple lacks surprise
As I stated initially, I thought Temple might offer something new or different. Instead, it ends up offering many of the usual tropes we’ve seen in horror movies that take place in Japan.
It’s not that it’s bad as such, but it seems like it could’ve been a pretty awesome horror movie. Instead, it’s a horror movie with a slow pace and a pretty boring romantic subplot.
The most interesting character is Christopher (Logan Huffman), which is no surprise since he’s the lead. The two supporting characters, Kate and James, are portrayed just fine by Natalia Warner and Brandon Sklenar respectively.
Or “just fine” isn’t fair. They do a very good job, but the characters are so stereotypical.
Also, what might annoy me the most is that you’ll probably guess most of the “twists” in Temple. Both regarding the supernatural elements and the relationship snafus.
Love Japanese horror? Watch it!
Look, even if I don’t sound impressed, I do want to give it credit for delivering on the Japanese elements of the story.
Especially the fact that quite a lot of Japanese is actually spoken. That’s right, it’s subtitle time. Don’t worry, you won’t be reading the entire movie.
I just love the fact that when in Japan, the people there do actually speak Japanese. Unlike that dreadful The Snowman, which takes place in Norway, where nobody speaks Norwegian. Instead, they speak English with a heavy Norwegian accent or British English with very different dialects.
Temple takes place in Japan and they’ve taken this on 100%, so kudos to that.
I just wanted more
Unfortunately, this (the fact that they speak Japanese in Japan) might be the only really good thing I can say about Temple. Well, that and the performance of the actors.
Overall, it’s too mediocre for anything else, which disappointed me. Especially since I wanted (and expected) more from a Simon Barrett script.
Director of Temple is Michael Barrett in his directing debut. If this had been produced as a horror short, I think the result would’ve been much better.
I will say this though; The movie looks gorgeous! This is probably thanks to Michael Barrett’s past experience as a cinematographer.
Temple was released Dec. 2, 2017, on Netflix in 33 countries.
Director: Michael Barrett
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Naoto Takenaka, Asahi Uchida, Logan Huffman, Natalia Warner, Brandon Sklenar
Three American tourists follow a mysterious map deep into the jungles of Japan searching for an ancient temple. When spirits entrap them, their adventure quickly becomes a horrific nightmare.