Dir. Kazuyoshi Kumakiri | Japan | 2023 | 97 mins
Real estate agent Shunsuke Kawamura seems to have it all: a successful career, friends and a beautiful fiancée, who happens to be his boss’s daughter. On the eve of his wedding, Shunsuke joins a group of work colleagues on a night of drinking, but his perfect life soon comes crashing down to earth when he ends up trapped several metres underground in an open manhole. With no memory of how he got there and no clue of his exact location, Shunsuke attempts to call for help but when that doesn’t work, he quickly sets up an account on social media with the handle “Manhole Girl” in the belief that any male insomniacs online are far more likely to help a young woman in distress. As toxic foam begins to spill into the chamber from open pipes and torrential rain starts to pour, Shunsuke faces a race against time to escape.
Equal parts contained-space horror thriller and cutting satire of social media, #MANHOLE subjects its central character to a never-ending cavalcade of grimness, but boy, is it fun to watch! Japanese actor, model and pop superstar Yuto Nakajima (of platinum-selling boy band Hey! Say! JUMP) truly excels as Shunsuke, a seemingly squeaky-clean nice guy whose mask gradually starts to slip as the plot unfolds. By the time the credits roll, you’re likely to be a little more vigilant about exactly who is lurking behind social media accounts, as well as keeping a closer eye out for hazards after a night of heavy drinking.
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