It’s been a while since Synapse has released some­thing under their Asian Cult Cinema ban­ner.  Luckily for fans of this ban­ner, the begin­ning of 2012 has seen a new release in the form of Gurozuka, a female-cen­tric tale of ghosts and seri­al mur­der from Japan.  The fin­ished pro­duct is like­ly to please them, offer­ing a typ­i­cal­ly pro­fes­sion­al trans­fer and a worth­while pair of extras as well.

Gurozuka is given an anamor­phic widescreen pre­sen­ta­tion on this disc.  It is a shot-on-video pro­duc­tion so it might not have the visu­al “wow” fac­tor that Synapse often gets with cel­lu­loid-based pro­duc­tions but this trans­fer suits the film’s rough-and-ready video style just fine.  The details are con­sis­tent­ly clear and the mut­ed col­or scheme of the woodsy set­tings comes through nice­ly.  The audio por­tion of the trans­fer uses a 2.0 stereo mix: as such, it doesn’t have a lot in the way of rad­i­cal stereo effects but the mix is crisp with an effec­tive use of music.  It’s also worth not­ing that the film is pre­sent­ed in Japanese, with English sub­ti­tles that are nice and clear.

The extras are lim­it­ed to two items but both are worth­while.  The first is a Japanese trail­er that plays up the film’s Ringu-esque ele­ments.  Japanese subs are thank­ful­ly includ­ed with it.  The sec­ond is a mak­ing-of fea­turet­te that runs about 23 min­utes.  Some parts have the expect­ed EPK puffery but the rest is pret­ty inter­est­ing stuff: the actress­es reveal how gru­el­ing the shoot could be in terms of cold and there are also amus­ing mon­tages of crew mem­bers steal­ing naps on set and the cam­era-shy direc­tor jump­ing out of the doc­u­men­tary cameraman’s way.  It’s a nice lit­tle fly-on-the-wall doc­u­ment that will inter­est any­one intrigued by the film.

All in all, Synapse’s disc of Gurozuka offers a worth­while trans­fer backed up with a sur­pris­ing­ly com­pelling on-the-set fea­turet­te.  If you’re a J-hor­ror fan, it is wor­thy of  your con­sid­er­a­tion.