The shadow of Ring hangs heavily over Tomie with her unnerving little girls voice, Tomie is yet another clone of Sadako. Unfortunately, I found Tomie uninteresting to the point of being dull. It has clearly been shot on a low-budget and features non-professional lighting and photography. This only results in a film that looks dreary, has little in the way of visual style and where director Ataru Oikawa does little to spice the show up. It is certainly hard telling from this that you are looking at a film that inspired a major horror franchise.
Ataru Oikawa throws in the odd shock there is a captivating and literally eye-opening scene that opens the film (and promises well at least until the rest of it kicks in) where a man carries a bag on the street and opens it to reveal a head inside, whereupon the head suddenly opens its eye and looks up at the camera. Mostly though, Ataru Oikawa fails to develop any mood and does little to draw one into the film. Tomie is eventually a fascinatingly creepy character once her face is unveiled but the film surrounding her is soporific. This is at least one J-horror film that would substantially benefit from an English-language remake that would give it the far superior production polish and better director it virtually cries out for.
At times, Tomie resembles a J-horror film like Ring or Ju-on: The Grudge (2003) as conducted by the ultra-cryptic Kiyoshi Kurosawa of Cure (1997), Pulse (2001) and Retribution (2006) fame albeit minus Kurosawas uncanny ability to conjure unearthly scares. I failed to fully make sense of the plot, especially the ending where heroine Mami Nakamura confronts Tomie and says You are me, I am you, before blowing herself up with fireworks.
Ataru Oikawa returned to the series to make Tomie: Beginning and Tomie: Revenge. He went onto make a number of other genre films, including Tokyo Psycho (2004), Einstein Girl (2005), Apartment 1303 (2007), Shrill Cries of Summer (2008) and Shrill Cries: Reshuffle (2009).
Trailer here (no subs):-