Wednesday, 30 October 2013

H13. Diabolical, Dark And Disturbing

Hi,
Happy Halloween! Apologies for not posting anything yesterday, but again I left my USB at home. Damn. But to compensate, we have three of the very best movies I've seen as part of this marathon! The first two are Japanese, the first a strange comedy, the second an unsettling ghost drama. However, it is the final film I'd like you to pay most attention to. The Loved Ones is a film I've been wanting to see for ages (I remember seeing the posters everywhere) and it was... an experience, I'll say that much. I would recommend it but it's not for the faint of hearted as you'll see. Only one more film to go and that will be reviewed tomorrow (hopefully). I know these things usually finish by Halloween but I actually want to see it on the night, so you'll have to wait :D. Anyway, until then,
Thanks,
James

 Dead Sushi
2012, Japan, Directed by Noboru Iguchi
When I sat down to watch this film, I knew it was going to be weird. It’s a film about killer sushi for god’s sake, how can this not be strange. But even knowing this I wasn’t prepared for just how batshit crazy it would be. I also didn’t realise I was going to enjoy it so much. It’s an incredibly satisfying film, by far the most entertaining thing I’ve seen this marathon. Describing this film is almost impossible other than to see it’s hugely violent with more blood gushing than in any other film I’ve seen (it’s more than Kill Bill) but it’s also done in a way that’s stylish and not gory. There are only a few scenes that threaten to gross you out and even then they’re brilliant. There’s one iconic image of a man’s face being pulled apart and it’s both gory and cool and in another part a sushi bites someone’s tongue pulling it out way past its natural length. Plus, it’s got sushi with teeth, rice spewing zombies and a tuna man. This probably isn’t a film for everyone but you should at least give it a go. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this film, I really didn’t, but now I can’t help but think it’s one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen. It makes you want to punch the air and say yeah a lot. Basically, it’s a film that demands to be watched with a group but even watching this by myself I couldn’t help but love it. In terms of story and acting, this would probably rate very low but in terms of sheer awesomeness, this is one of the very best movies I’ve ever seen.
 
Gore/Violence: 5 (oceans of blood, muscles, holes in stomachs. Super violent)
Sex/Nudity: 4 (topless female nudity which is then covered by a shower of blood from a decapitated head and body sushi which is where sushi is eaten off a woman in a bikini)
Scares: 2 (not all that scary because you’re just cheering but there were a few moments that scared me a little)
Best Scene: All of it. I really don’t know what else to say. I want to say one scene but then I think of another. I can’t decide. It’s that good.
Overall Verdict: 10
 
  Dark Water
2002, Japan, Directed by Hideo Nakata
 
 Because of the slower nature of this film, I didn’t like it all that much while I was watching it. I was desperate for something scary to happen. This was, after all, a horror film. However, nothing truly terrifying happens until the last 20 minutes of the film which led to a general feeling of dissatisfaction. As soon as I finished it, I rated it a 7 and went to sleep, incredibly disappointed by it. However, time has been incredibly kind to this film. It’s only been a day and my opinion of it has already grown considerably. The reason is this; Dark Water is far more than a horror film, it’s an experience. While many horror films opt for terror, this one opts to unnerve you. It often comes across as quite reflective and the pace is very lax. But I really liked this film because it’s more about the characters than it is the scares. By the end of this film, we know these characters so well and in the final quarter it becomes really quite moving. I think it’s something about the ghost sub-genre which allows horror filmmakers to become incredibly poignant. Many of these films are about repentance and allowing the spirits to find peace. Looking back on it, I realise just how beautiful and well-directed it was and how it was more than just about the scares (which when they come are quite frightening and unsettling), it was about making us feel something, to experience what these characters are going through. It’s a great film because it allows you to think about what’s going on. While I may not have liked it while I was viewing it, in reflection it comes across a sensitive, incredibly accomplished film that transcends the horror genre. Brilliant.

Gore/Violence: 2 (extremely minimal)
Sex/Nudity: 0 (none at all)

Scares: 4 (oh, Jesus)
Best Scene: The last time we see the daughter, because it’s a stunning image.
Overall Verdict: 9
 
 
  The Loved Ones
2009, Australia, Directed by Sean Byrne
  
As I was watching this film, I came up with so many ways to begin this review. I was going to say it was my first example of torture porn, that it was quite a neat full circle as the penultimate film was Australian just before the final one and even that the casting of the super-hot Xavier Samuel made this even nastier. But then as I was watching it, all these thoughts gradually faded away as it became even more vicious and sadistic. Part of me really wants to hate this film because there were moments when I wanted to turn away or to turn it off but it’s a bit like a car crash, you want to turn away yet you’re desperate to find out what happens next. It caused a visceral reaction within me which wasn’t particularly pleasant. Even just thinking back on it freaks me out. I have this thing about body horror/mutilation. I don’t know why but that has always disturbed me more than anything else. There’s a moment in the very last bit of the film when Lola goes limp-wristed and I was truly horrified. Before that was the drilling scene which made it almost impossible for me to get to sleep. And yet I also have to say I really liked this film because it’s doing something quite clever. It’s almost like a reverse Carrie as the innocent dreamer is shown to be a complete and utter psycho. With Carrie, we’re almost made to sympathise with her because we’ve seen how cruel the students are to her, but with this film, Lola just comes across as one nasty bitch, condescending, child-like and completely and utterly twisted. Her dad is no better and the two of them make for one of the most unpleasant villains in any horror movie. Xavier Samuel’s casting does make this quite a hard film to watch but even if they’d cast someone I wasn’t attracted to, the visceral horrific nature of this movie would have had the same effect on me. That’s not to say this film is perfect. There’s a sub-plot about the real prom which feels unnecessary and breaks up the tension created by Lola, but part of me is thankful for these moments because they allow us a break. Usually I rate films depending on how much I enjoyed them so even if they’re technically accomplished and well-directed but I hate them, then they don’t rate highly with me (case in point is Avatar and Oz, The Great And Powerful). I could never say I enjoyed watching this film. Even thinking about is making me feel a little sick (something that rarely happens with me) but I have to say looking back on it, I really liked this film because it’s horrific but it’s clever. And it really has to be quite a good film to create such a real reaction within me. However, I will say one last thing; it has royally ruined the song ‘Pretty Enough’. 
Gore/Violence: 5 (nasty as knives, hammers, nails, forks, drills, kettles, cleavers and pillows are all used)
Sex/Nudity: 4 (sex scene at the start with Xavier’s topless girlfriend and much of what motivates Lola can be seen to be sex. Oh, and the real object of her desire just adds to the nasty)
Scares: 5 (No jump scares but a sense of utter horror)
Best Scene: The drilling (not really a best scene, just the most disturbing).
Overall Verdict: 10

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