Living Hell Movie Review

Looks like fish isn't the only thing some Japanese like to eat raw. In Living Hell, Shugo Fujii shows us the family that dines together stays together -- this is, if you're noshing on your grandkids.

The contrived story follows a boy who's confined to a wheelchair. His father takes in the boy's grandmother and her granddaughter after a massacre offs the remainder of their family. The boy is nervous and has bad dreams about what might transpire -- and what does is even worse than those nightmares. In come the meat cleavers, in comes the stun gun. In comes the cannibalism. There are explanations for all of this provided in the end, but they don't make much sense, nor do they matter.

Less subtle than Audition, less creepy than Ringu, and more gory than Ichi the Killer, this is a Hills Have Eyes for the Tokyo set. The budget is low, the blood is ultra-red, and the grandmother's makeup effects are awful. That only increases the movie's charm, though. Any fan of splatter films is going to have a field day here.

To date, this is Fujii's first and only film. He's still learning his way around the camera -- with obvious fondness towards shooting by candlelight, framing faces in extreme closeup, and spinning the camera from one subject to another. He's obviously an amateur, but one with style and a clear sense of direction. Time will tell if he can turn his creepy fascination with gore into a more fully fleshed-out story, but first he's going to have to make another movie...

The new DVD includes a commentary from Fujii, four of his short films, deleted scenes, and storyboards. (It's a miracle that this film had storyboards at all!)

Aka Iki-jigoku.


Comments

Living Hell Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 2000

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