With astounding black and white photography, Onibaba explores the lives of mother and daughter-in-law through a haunting world thick with symbolism and neck-high grass. What starts as a bleak profile of two murdering profetiers takes a significant detour. It becomes a narrative essay on primitive sexuality, sexual polotics, the fear and exhileration of sexual vulnerability, and the stifling of sexuality in religion. It may be the most artistically admirable exploration of sex along with Eyes Wide Shut. The horror takes form in the barbaric actions of the characters, but is eventually magnified by a supernatural presence. The performances are strong, enjoyable, without the loud theatrics that characterize this era of Japanese cinema. The music is sort of tribal and alarming at times. It’s a simplistic fable, but deeply thought-provoking.