Kowabon – Episodes 2 & 3
Huzzah, the episodes are being subtitled now! Ironically there is only one word in episode two (no, screaming doesn’t count).
I feel like the second episode of Kowabon plays upon the fear some people have of elevators. I know individuals who won’t ride one if it’s clunky and making lots of noise, and others who won’t ride one due to their fear of being stuck between floors. However as we see in this episode, what might happen if you were riding the elevator… alone… when the clock strikes the witching hour?
As the episode opens to the early morning (the security camera is on a 24 hour clock), we see an empty elevator. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, until everything flashes blue and white, as if giving us a glimpse into an alternate dimension. A few hours later we see a businessman riding the elevator. He gets to his floor and steps off with no issue. Suddenly the screen is filled with static before being bathed in pretty sunset colours of orange, red and yellow; the time on the security camera has also jumped forward more than 12 hours. When the camera switches back to real time, it is now one minute before midnight, and a lone girl steps on by herself.
The elevator flickers purple as it moves between floors, and it appears like she is able to notice the change in her environment. The elevator stops without notice, and the girl sticks her head out to investigate. It must not be her floor – but where is she? When she tries to get the doors to close, they refuse to shut.
At the stroke of midnight her cellphone camera switches on, recording her stunned expression. Then, all on its own, the camera view switches itself around and the girl screams as she sees a ghoulish figure with long black hair lurch towards her. The security camera turns into static again as her screams fill the air, and when the picture fixes itself, there is no longer anyone on the elevator.
My thoughts: This episode was a little creepier than the previous one due to the lack of dialogue and the smooth timing of the ominous background music. However I felt like the ghoul itself was a little too similar to the girl shown in the first episode. Unless, perhaps, this is intentional? Will we see the same spectre in every episode?
On the official Kowabon website, the series’ tagline is, “There are cameras everywhere in the world. Those ‘eyes’ have seen the world you do not know.” Episode one featured a computer webcam, and now episode two was shown from the POV of both a security camera and a cellphone camera. I wonder which type of camera will be in next week’s episode?
From the moment I saw that the setting for this episode was in an office building late at night, I immediately thought of the Manchester poltergeist video I recently saw on Youtube. I think having that footage in the back of my mind, and seeing some of the similarities between that video and this episode of Kowabon helped heighten the fear-factor this time around.
Episode three opens with an officer worker trying to finish up her work so she can go home. The lights are flickering, she’s alone, and she is clearly startled when the large TV switches on by itself behind her. As she is puzzling over why it is even on, the phone rings; it is her friend asking if she is still at work. She continues to muse over the mysterious TV as she finishes up her brief call. As she hangs up, the TV switches from static to security camera footage showing the hallway outside the office. We see the now-familiar spooky spectre slowly stagger out of view of the camera. One by one, the computer monitors across from her workstation also turn themselves on. Immediately afterwards all of the ceiling lights turn themselves off, one by one. The office is now almost completely in the dark.
As she is still staring at the large TV, we see a creepy skull face on a red background appearing on all of the computer monitors. The poor freaked out employee screams and hides under a desk. Without warning the computer monitors switch themselves off so that the room is pitch black. Moments later the large TV turns on again, still showing some kind of security footage, and the employee slowly stands up and leaves the relative safety of her hiding spot. As she is frozen in place, mesmerized by what she is seeing on the large TV, several long-haired ghouls emerge from the computer monitors around her and close in on her. Her screams are cut off as the screen cuts to black.
My thoughts: Of the three episodes aired so far, this one is my favourite and it definitely felt like the creepiest. Kowabon manages to instill fear without overdoing anything, and it makes excellent use of music and sound effects when creating a suspenseful atmosphere. I’m really enjoying this show more than I thought I would! I also think it’s really neat that show title is presented differently in every episode.
My only criticism for this episode is that the screams at the very end were cut off. I feel like letting them extend for even another couple of seconds would have made the episode just a little bit scarier.