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DVD Review

DVD cover

Samurai Zombie


Starring: Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Issei Ishida and Tak Sakaguchi
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 19 July 2010

A Japanese family is on holiday. They are driving through the woods which surround Eight Spears Village when they inadvertently hit a man standing in the middle of the road pointing a gun. When they stop to check on the man, a young adult couple emerge from the trees and shoot the man, before turning their attention on the family and hijacking the car with the family hostage. When one of the tyres blows out, the father of the family is sent to look for a spare or another vehicle. En route, he discovers a blade, and feels an overwhelming compulsion to cut his throat. The resulting blood seeps into the ground and resurrects a dead Samurai warrior. An old hag appears to the waiting family, telling them they are all going to die. Two investigating police officers are entered into the mix; all have a link to the past, and the inevitable retribution of the zombie Samurai...

Every so often I receive a film which is somewhat difficult to quantify. Samurai Zombie is both entertaining and abysmal on so many levels it gets snagged somewhere between inspired and insipid. The odd balance tilts from tedious gun-toting nonsense, through standard slasher and zombie fare, to clever supernatural ghost story, and back again. The idea of a contemporary Japanese setting with a Samurai warrior from another time is most intriguing. There is real potential in the premise; some of which materialises, and much of which slips by. The main point at which it hinges is the humour - always a difficult balance in horror. One moment we are fed a tantalising morsel of intelligent visual humour, the next we are reduced to inane schoolboy penis jokes.

When I noticed that Midnight Meat Train director, Ryuhei Kitamura had written the screenplay, it went some distance in explaining where the moments of refreshing original entertainment had emerged from. I'd like to read the unedited screenplay in order to know exactly what this film aspired to be. As it is, the film does enough to break through average territory and come out the other side relatively unscathed.


Ty Power

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