Running Time: 91 mins
Reviewer: David Gillespie – HCF Official Artist
Having created the Beer Movie Tag a year or so ago, Horror Cult Films would categorize this type of film as a feature that compliments a curry, six pack of beer and comfy sofa. A feature film that is unlikely to tax your brain or win major acclaim with the critics yet achieve in its underlying goal, to entertain the viewer. The Beer Movie’s natural habitat is often in the straight to DVD category with a low-ish budget. The actors are normally C-list and the content comprising of violence, toilet humour and nudity. There are times when you crave the burger over the steak, when you purchase the copy of The Star over The Times, when you fancy the Kardashian over the Middleton etc. We need top class trash like Dead Sushi. Having already delivered the likes of Machine Girl (2008), Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead (2011) and Sukeban Boy (2006), Noboru Igushi’s sticks to his schlock horror winning formula with his new opus. The big question is whether it offers the same amount of entertainment as his previous efforts?
A young sushi chef, Keiko (rising martial arts star -Rina Takeda ) is forced out of her home by the extraordinary demands made on her by her overbearing, sushi master father (Jiji Bu). She finds work at a remote resort hotel that regularly hosts big business, team-building groups. When a major pharmaceutical company arrives for good food, drink and extras from the sexy, young maids, a disgruntled former employee who lives in the area decides to seek vengeance on those who wronged him. He begins to inject the ingredients, including shrimp, cheese etc, with a strange chemical that immediately turns the chopped food into flying, toothsome monsters.
Meanwhile the shy Keiko finds life as a maid very difficult. After being bullied by her fellow staff members, she befriends the kindly groundsman Mr Sawada (Shigeru Matsuzaki). He immediately identifies her qualities as a skilled chef and warns her to look after her hands above all else. When staff members and guests are either infected into rice spewing zombies or lacerated by the rabid sushi ingredients, Keiko and Sawadia team up to inflict their own form of kung-fu and culinary justice against the onslaught. They face all manner of horrors, including an axe wielding, boss monster that has an uncanny resemblance to Colonel Ackbar from Return of the Jedi. Can Keiko defeat the Dead Sushi?
The one thing that Noboru Iguchi cannot be denied is his effort to entertain his audience. He throws everything, including the kitchen sink, in an attempt to keep the viewer glued to the carnage. Within 90 minutes we experience zombies, fish monsters, egg monsters that spit acid, half naked dancing girls, kung-fu scenes, latex gore effects, CGI gore effects etc, etc. Although the special effects are extremely ropey at times, some highly skilled, choreographed fight scenes and toilet humour jokes compensate for this.
Rina Takeda is pretty and engaging as the shy heroine who is as skilled at beating up monsters as she is preparing fine cuisine. Her skills as a martial arts star are displayed to full effect in a superb and hilarious punch up sequence involving some thuggish guests and the hotel’s evil, head chef. Jiji Bu and Shigeru Matsuzaki are both amusing in supporting roles as father figures to Keiko. Anyone else in the cast is there to look good or get chewed.
One surprising element is the time it actually spends explaining the different techniques regards preparing sushi. I was not aware of the magnitude to its production and the director describes it as if it’s a work of art. Early scenes with Keiko and her father are carefully filmed could well be from a totally different type of movie.
There are downsides to the production. Budget restrictions do hamper the quality of some of the effects on show. Although the makeup effects are suitably icky and fun, the CGI effects are very poor indeed. A computer generated, sushi battleship is best forgotten and was an unwise inclusion in the climactic brawl. The humour is often very childish. There are also only so many times that someone breaking wind is going to grab a cheap laugh. Yes, this comment has came from someone labelled the Cludge Judge!
Dead Sushi is an inventive and very silly, horror film with enough fresh ingredients and belly laughs to leave its target audience with a dumb smile on their face.