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December 14, 2011

Movie Review: Grotesque (2009)

Directed by Koji Shiraishi

Starring Tsugumi Nagasawa, Hiroiki Kawatsure and Shigeo Osako

Reviewed By Kenny B.

With the success of the Saw & Hostel franchises (for better or worse) it has become quite apparent that there is a niche in the horror genre that needed to be filled. Most of us know it as “torture-porn” or “splatter films”, a movie which focuses on graphic depictions of gore and violence centered around a preoccupation with the vulnerability of the human body and the theatrical portrail of its mutilation. The majority of these films lacking any type of comedic tone, I personally find them for the most part, a bit tough to watch. And in all honesty, most of them are poorly made piles of dog shit in my opinion. Koji Shiraishi's Grotesque has climbed to the top of that pile of dog shit and proudly planted its flag as the king of the mountain for the time being. This film was made for one reason, to disturb and shock even the most hard-core of horror fans, and it succeeds in doing just that.

Grotesque centers around a young Japanese couple who are abducted by what I am presuming is a mad doctor while out on a date. Strapped to tables in his torture chamber, they are subjected to ever worsening horrors via gradual dismemberment, genital torture, rape and psychological terrorism by the stone faced doctor. The version I watched had only Japanese and German language options but one doesn't really need to understand the dialog to figure out whats going on here. This movie really neverdoes let up, it was horrendously oppressing from start to finish. Even the act in which, after beingtortured to near death, the couple are placed in some type of recovery room and nursed back to health,with the doctor suddenly playing the role of loving nurse to the 2, there was still an overpowering senseof dread which hung over the scenes. All three actors played their roles to the 9's, adding that extra touch of believability, which to me helped this movie transcend the usual tripe of its kind, Making Saw and Hostel look like wanna-be's.

The climax of the film was, I must say, pretty damn awesome in a gut-wrenching kind of way, bizarre, entertaining and satisfying. You really want this doctor to get his come-uppins and director Shiraishi manages to deliver it, only to snatch that satisfaction away at the end. The gore is strong stuff here folks, and not for the faint of heart. Its gruesome, cruel and sadisticviewing. I know a few people who would suffer PTSD after watching this flick and I will leave that as my final warning (or endorsement, depending on you personal tolerance level). If torture-porn is yourcup of tea, this movie is a pot full of boiling hot Earl Gray thrown right in your face.

As a splatter film, I give it a 9 out of 10, its just so god damned disturbing. This rating is prettysubjective though, plenty of people will watch it and say its not worth pissing on simply because of thesubject matter, and I wouldn't argue with them. My rating is based partly on the fact that after watchingit, I came to the surprising realization that not all torture porn is garbage, some of it is well craftedgarbage that will give you nightmares and possibly scar your psyche.

Watch "Grotesque" Now!

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