Certain movies get under my skin and refuse to leave. Case in point: Kiyoshi Kurosawa'sCure and Pulse (AKA Kairo). There are several startling scenes in those movies that left me on edge for days. Both are horror flicks, but differ in their approaches. Cure is a police procedural with an unsettling string of deaths, while Pulse imagines what happens when there is no more room in the spirit realm for dead people. Kurosawa has a gift for creating indelible imagery married to sometimes head-scratching stories. Even when things don't really add up, as in Bright Future, his films leave a distinct aftertaste.

Kurosawa's Retribution, from 2006, hit Region 1 DVD earlier this week, and it's an odd little beast. In the opening scene, a woman in a red dress is brutally drowned by a mysterious man in a shallow pool of salt water on a reclaimed piece of land near the ocean. Kôji Yakusho (Babel, Shall We Dance?) plays Yoshioka, a weary police detective (similar to the one he played in Cure) investigating the case. Before he can get too far, we witness a respected doctor kill his son, for little apparent reason, by the same method. Is the doctor a serial killer? Why are Yoshioka's fingerprints on the first victim's body? Why does Yoshioka start having nightmares about a woman in a red dress?

Deliberately paced, Retribution veers between an effective freak-out and a disappointing, frustrating mystery, but Kurosawa fans may want to check out its low-key artistic despair.