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A landmark in fantasy cinema, this lyrical ghost story is set in medieval Japan amid a bloody conflict between rival fiefdoms. While the warrior Kichi's impoverished wife (Jitsuko Yoshimura) and mother (Nobuko Otowa) wait for his return from battle, they maintain a humble existence by luring lost soldiers into the surrounding fields of tall grass and murdering them in order to sell their armor and weapons for food; the bodies are then disposed of in a deep cavern. After learning that her son has been killed in battle, Otowa begins to concoct a scheme to frighten her daughter-in-law into… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Too often, it turns out to be a pot-pourri of ravenous eating and blatant sex."
‑ , Variety
"A creepy, interesting, and visually striking 1963 feature by Kaneto Shindo."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"the horror of war and the horror of untrammeled market forces combine in a nightmarish vision of humanity bestialised."
‑ Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
"Interesting as a claustrophobic vision."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"No masterpiece by any means, it's at times overplayed, but it's striking visually, handling swift horizontal movement very well. It's also genuinely erotic."
‑ , Time Out
"Unflinching in its violence and eroticism."
‑ Philip Kemp, Total Film
"One of the absolute peaks of atmospheric black-and-white horror."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Onibaba graphically illustrates that brutalism, art and allegory can co-exist to spellbindingly powerful effect."
‑ Jon Fortgang, Film4
"Although his artistic integrity remains untarnished, his driven rustic principals are exotic, sometimes grotesque figures out of medieval Japan, to whom a Westerner finds it hard to relate."
‑ A.H. Weiler, New York Times
"Onibaba is a chilling movie, a waking nightmare shot in icy monochrome, and filmed in a colossal and eerily beautiful wilderness."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Onibaba shows less interest in laying bare its meanings than in offering the occasion for the viewers' meditations on life, existence (a different thing), and whatever lies below."
‑ Jake Euker, Filmcritic.com
More reviews for Onibaba on Rotten Tomatoes