Sunday, November 28, 2010

Japanese Hell (1999)


A remorseful former cult member (Rika) is given a chance for atonement, when she is approached by the sovereign of hell (Ms. Enma). The woman offers to absolve Rika of her sins, if she willingly faces the mind shattering torments of Inferno.

Rika's adventure begins with unforgiving visions manifested in Ms. Enma's sacred object, the "karma mirror" and ends with a dangerous trek through the many levels of purgatory. Where offenders will spend an eternity paying for their transgressions.

The crimes and merciless punishments of two men are witnessed by the sensitized, Rika. The first, a child murderer. Who eerily narrates, as he abducts, dismembers and disposes the bodies of several young girls. And the last, is the lecherous leader of the cult she was once a member of. A imitation of the real life, cult leader Shoko Asahara**

In Conclusion:

While flawed, this film has a few really great things going for it.

The color soaked visuals and the unbridled vigor exhibited by hell's beastly inhabitants, while they subject their deserving victims to various torments. (Most notably the comical and memorable tongue stretching scene, as pictured below)

Sometimes there is an undeniable creepiness that comes from art inspired by real life tragedies and events. Also, the fact that Shoko's likeness is rendered almost identically by the actor selected to play him, only adds to the shudder some vibe.

My main complaint with this film, is the ending. I found it to be confusing and preachy. Another character is introduced, before the film is about to end and he is totally unrelated to the plot. (Although, I did find some redeeming value during the end credits, when Rika and a bevy of beautiful women disrobe before praying.)

Many may want to consider renting before buying.

**Shoko Asahara (Founder of the Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult responsible for the 1995 Tokyo subway Sarin gas attacks//Is also currently awaiting execution, due to his planning and participation in said events, along with myriad other crimes.)

(For further information, check out the film "A", directed by Tatsuya Mori. Which is an extensive documentary about the cult. Or if you're feeling lazy, just try wikipedia ;) )

Screen Captures: (All Screen Caps are taken by me, please do not use without my permission)