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Archive for September 10th, 2010

Tokyo Gore School (2009)

For high schooler Fujiwara, everything in life seems to be going according to plan. He’s good-looking, popular, doing well in his studies and, most importantly, is a good fighter and is therefore able to avoid the attentions of any bullies looking for trouble. His idyll life suddenly ends, however, when he is unexpectedly attacked by a group of fellow students, seemingly without any provocation. His investigation into the attack leads him to the discovery of a series of underground websites linking to known social networking sites and to a mysterious and very violent game that is being spread through the students? mobile phone networks. Forced against his will to join in the game in order to prevent his deepest and darkest personal secret from being revealed to the entire school, Fujiwara becomes a key part of a puzzle that is becoming deadlier by the hour. Soon, he is involved in a fight for his life for reasons still unknown to him. But the terrifying truth is about to be revealed.

A bit of a misleading title as there’s hardly any gore in it. It tries to be the next Battle Royale but doesn’t come close to it. Despite it’s failings, I still found it quite an interesting movie filled with some decent fights and chase sequences. There’s hardly any character development until the end when Fujiwara’s dark secret is finally revealed. The acting is adequate but nothing special. Overall it’s worth taking a look but don’t expect anything as special as Battle Royale.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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Art Of The Devil (2004)

A rich architect strikes up an illicit affair with an attractive young girl but when she tells him that she’s pregnant, he panics. Eager to shed his mistress, the guy gives her a lot of money, hoping he can buy her disappearance. But she comes back, claiming the money isn’t enough; unfortunately, her ex-lover thinks it’s plenty, and such a large amount entitles him to invite his scumbag buddies over for a beachside gang rape. Humiliated and lusting for vengeance, the girl turns to witchcraft, and teams up with a mysterious warlock to give her ex-lover a deadly curse. Through the dark arts, she eliminates each and every member of her abuser’s family in gruesome fashion.

An average Thai horror. Whilst it’s not perfect or original for that matter, it does have some messy, inventive deaths and some gorgeous women. The story is fairly uninspiring with a plot device that’s been done to death involving a reporter investigating the deaths. The deaths as I’ve said are pretty good and mostly involve the victim coughing up all kinds of nasty stuff including some razors, nails and best of all a pile of eels!! Lead actresses Arisa Wills and Supakson Chaimongkol are both easy on the eye, and provide a little incentive to remain focused, but, in the end, Art of the Devil proves to be nothing more than an average Asian horror flick.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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An improvement on the first movie. In the sequel, Rena (Airi Matsuyama) takes center stage. After murdering a prostitute and a low-life pimp that tried to scam her dad out of all his money, Rena is caught disposing of the bodies by Keiichi (Goki Maeda) and her friends. Keiichi is initially hurt that she couldn?t come to them for help, but they all agree to keep it a secret between them. Rena is later contacted by Detective Oishi and is given information that helps her begin to unravel the mystery of Oyashiro-sama. Like Keiichi in the first movie, she becomes paranoid and feels like she can?t trust her friends anymore. Somehow Keiichi remembers events from a parallel world (the first movie) in which he was trapped in a similar mental state. Remembering how easily he turned on his friends in that reality, he becomes determined to protect Rena at all costs, whether she trusts him or not. Rena though becomes more paranoid and hold students as hostages at the school with a petrol bomb primed to explode.

This is actually an alternate version of events from the first movie which gives more answers to several lingering questions. It takes a little getting used to, but this style of storytelling allows the original cast of characters to come back for another go even if they died in the original. It’s still a little bit confusing though with the plot involving a meteorite which may or may not have infected the villagers with some alien parasites. Still I enjoyed this movie and the cast performed well in their roles. There’s not much gore in it except for Rena gouging at her throat every now and then with blood and maggots seeping out of the wound! Definitely check it out if you saw the first movie.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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Killer Virgin Road (2009)

Juri Ueno is Hiroko, a soon to be bride who accidentally kills her landlord the day before the wedding. Deciding to bury the body, she heads to the woods around Mount Fuji where she meets up with a woman who wants to commit suicide. What ensues is a farce as she attempts to hide the body in more and more ludicrous situations.

As with any Juri Ueno comedy you can be guaranteed you’ll be laughing throughout and this is another great example of why Juri is excellent in this genre. She’s proven time and time again that she excels in comedies. She and Kimura Yoshino make a very funny team – trying to escape from a police officer desperate to arrest Hiroko and a gang of bikers who seem to turn up everywhere the 2 women go. Fans of Juri Ueno will not be disappointed and I found this movie hilarious. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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Air Doll (2009)

A fantastic movie about an inflatable sex-doll that comes alive. Unbeknownst to her owner during the times when he works she’s out exploring her surroundings with a child-like innocence and working in a DVD rental shop where she falls in love with her co-worker.

This movie is a brilliant and sobering look at life, alienation, loneliness in modern society and what it means to be human. Air Doll is a sweet, sad fable about the loss of innocence and Bae Doo-na is funny and touching in the role of a childlike doll in the tradition of Pinocchio. It’s a deep, thought-provoking, beautifully filmed, and well acted piece of Japanese cinema. Mark Lee as cinematographer is excellent as he films the city of Tokyo with long, gorgeous tracking shots. I really enjoyed it. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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