THE VILLAGE on Netflix is a new Japanese thriller drama. It’s slow-burn and heartbreaking, but also very brutal. With a runtime of two hours, it’s bound to be too slow for many. Read our full The Village movie review here!

THE VILLAGE is a new Netflix addition from Japan. It’s labeled as a “drama” on IMDB where the title is also simply “Village”. However, the actual plot and genre elements are much closer to crime and thriller.

The pacing, which is very slow-burn, probably resulted in this being called a drama. While it’s nowhere as bloody and violent as the Japanese crime, thriller, horror hybrid series Gannibal (on Hulu), a certain vibe runs through both stories.

Continue reading our The Village movie review below. Find it on Netflix from June 16, 2023.

The horrors of bullying

On Netflix, The Village is called a thriller and has a 16+ rating and a violence warning. That warning could also include bullying, as the violence directly connects with brutal adult bullying.

We meet Yu Katayama (Ryûsei Yokohama) as the main character. He’s a young man living in a remote but beautiful village. This village, Kamonmura, is small and it seems almost impossible to escape from it. At least for Yu.

He has lived in Kamonmura forever, and his past (or rather that of his family) is keeping him trapped there. Both in the village and his past. It’s also what results in him being desperately bullied and beaten daily.

Yu Katayama really is a shell of a person when The Village begins.

The Village (2023) – Review | Netflix Thriller-Drama

The power of love

What a difference love can make in the life of someone who feels both trapped and lost. That’s what we get to witness firsthand when someone from Yu’s past shows up and shows him what life can be.

Also, it should be noted that the mysterious events of his past are actually shown in the opening scene. However, more details come later, which is part of the mystery.

In any case, Yu is working at a garbage disposal facility in the village. A fairly new addition to the area and one that ruins the otherwise beautiful nature.

Having lived without any shred of hope in his life, the change happens when his old friend returns from Tokyo. Her name is Misaki Nakai and she was a childhood friend of Yu. In her mind, his past doesn’t define him and that gives him the new chance he never expected.

Watch The Village on Netflix now!

Michihito Fujii is the writer and director of The Village and he also worked with Ryûsei Yokohama in his Netflix series The Journalist. Experiencing him in the lead role of this Japanese movie on Netflix, it’s easy to see why he was cast.

Watching Ryûsei Yokohama portray Yu as he evolves is absolutely breathtaking. If you had shown me a picture of him from Yu’s first scene, when he’s hopeless and depressed, and then when he’s happy and positive, I wouldn’t have thought it was the same actor.

He really is what carries this entire story. Also, having some knowledge of the Japanese dance-drama theater “Noh” helps. It’s a masked performance where the performer becomes one with the mask. That’s grossly oversimplifying it, but hopefully, you get the gist.

Also, there is a very late end-credit scene in The Village, so keep watching it on Netflix. Or just fast-forward to make sure you watch it all.

The Village is out on Netflix from June 16, 2023.


Director: Michihito Fujii
Writer: Michihito Fujii
Stars: Ryûsei Yokohama, Haru Kuroki, Shidô Nakamura, Arata Furuta, Wataru Ichinose, Hana Kino


In a once-scenic village now dominated by a vast trash disposal site, a young man yearns to break free from a cruel fate tying him to the very grounds.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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