Tomie is a perpetual victim: she can never be permanently killed, and spreads jealousy and murderous hatred wherever she goes. Her last death occurred after she stole the boyfriend of Tsukiko (Nakamura), and it seems Tomie is now quietly regenerating herself in the apartment below Tsukiko's, out for revenge. Meanwhile, Detective Harada (Taguchi) has discovered cases of her 'death' going back centuries and is trying to unravel the mystery.
I hate films that won't let the viewer in on the facts. As soon as we saw Tsukiko undergoing hypnosis, to try and recover memories of an 'accident', we knew this'd be stretched within an inch of its life. We knew we'd be left to drum our fingers, and await whatever answers the makers felt like doling out - that, or use the fast-forward. Unfortunately, this movie is very sluggish; it seems like another case where you should have read the comic (by Junji Ito, who wrote Uzumaki) to get much from the film. That might fill in the blanks, rather than leave you thrashing about like a bored, beached porpoise.
Taguchi does provide a solid grounding, and is his usual competent self, but the endless shots showing the back of people's heads [Tomie in particular] get really old, really fast, and the final twist that might be more chilling, if it made logical sense - I'm unconvinced it does. Despite this, it spawned several sequels; while Tomie: Replay is supposedly superior, but think I'll be waiting for it to show up on cable.