Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Film Review: Grotesque (2009)

Grotesque (Review)
Japan/2009
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...you should only watch this movie if you're a fan of extreme horror."

A deranged doctor kidnaps an innocent couple in order to torture them for his excitement...

Grotesque is a ridiculously simple film. The plot follows an unnamed doctor (Shigeo Ôsako) who kidnaps a couple, Aki (Tsugumi Nagasawa) and Kazuo (Hiroaki Kawatsure). Aki and Kazuo awaken in a dungeon, then they are tortured in every way possible—physically, sexually, mentally, you name it. This doctor is torturing them in search of excitement since he's bored with his life. And... Well, that's actually the entire plot. It tries to add a few twists and turns here, but there really isn't anything significant in the story. Nothing really stands out. It leads to a ridiculous ending. I'm not really sure how to feel about it. It was... cheesy? I don't know, it was just ridiculous.


Grotesque isn't a frightening film. The two main characters are placed in a frightening situation, but it's just not scary to us—the audience. That's because it is a film largely devoid of suspense. It doesn't have suspense for two reasons: 1) it's focused solely on extreme violence, and 2) it has a severe lack of character. So, since the characters are so hollow, you're really just watching the torture of two people. Don't get me wrong, it can be effective, especially if gore makes you squirm, but it just doesn't reach its maximum potential. Still, the simplicity of the plot is somewhat attractive and the gore is shocking. It didn't disturb due to its lack of humanity, but it did make me squirm here and there. Does it leave an impression? No, not exactly.

The acting was decent, though. Shigeo Ôsako played the deranged doctor very well. Tsugumi Nagasawa and Hiroaki Kawatsure also performed well. The reactions were a little underwhelming, though. Usually, there's a problem with overacting, but this one could have used it. Most of the special effects were great. If you're a fan of practical effects in your splatter films, you'll enjoy this one. The film was written and directed by Kōji Shiraishi, who also directed Sadako vs. Kayako. Again, Shiraishi fails to create suspense. He knows how to craft a movie, he has a distinct style, but his writing doesn't help him. If this film had a stronger plot, it could have been so much better.

Overall, Grotesque is a mediocre movie. If you're only looking for blood and guts in your horror movies, then you might love this film. However, if you'd like more plot, suspense, and atmosphere, your time is better spent elsewhere. As a matter of fact, you should only watch this movie if you're a fan of extreme horror.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Graphic violence and gore, graphic nudity, and sex.

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