A live-action adaptation from the director of Akira, Mushi-shi's opening minutes felt like a revelation, bringing an earthiness to the material absent from the manga and animated series. Sadly, that and generous shots of Japan's glorious forests are about all this film has going for it. In a strained effort to draw literal connections between storylines originally only connected thematically, it misses out on inspiring the awe for the balance of nature and rhythm of life that makes the source material so powerful. Convoluted and overly long, it likewise fails to stand on its own as a horror narrative.
Towards its end this film also undermines what makes the central characters Ginko and Tanyu resonate—that they turn their limitations into their purpose instead of their curse. That was a major, final disappointment for me. I highly recommend the source material or the animated series.