GREATFUL DEAD (2013)

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greatful-dead

GREATFUL DEAD (2013)
Directed by Eiji Uchida
Japanese language with English subtitles

After her mother runs off to a third world country to help impoverished children, emotionally neglected daughter Nami is left at home with her depressed father and older sister, the latter of whom eventually moves out of the family home and in with her boyfriend. With a father who’s more interested in his new mistress than her, Nami’s only company are the hosts of the shopping channel on TV from whom she keeps ordering from.

Fast-forward by at least 10 years and Nami is now an adult. Left a small fortune in her deceased father’s will, Nami spends her time spying on people with binoculars. Her real interest is finding lonely people in the neighbourhood, whom she calls Solitarians, and she keeps a daily diary of their activities and movements. One day she comes across Mr Shiomi, an elderly Solitarian, and begins to monitor him. However, when a bible-reading volunteer threatens his solitary existence, an enraged Nami decides to intervene to protect her hobby, her object of amusement.

Japanese movie GREATFUL DEAD is a quirky film that blends both comedy and horror into one to make a very dark piece of cinema. Whilst at first you’ll empathise with the character of Nami, her actions and attitude to life soon become questionable as she descends into her obsession with lonely people that verges on the morbid.

GREATFUL DEAD begins quite strongly with its scenes of Nami as a child but when she grows up, the story begins to crawl along with a lack of momentum. Her peculiar hobby is quite boring to watch and hard to understand or relate to at times, with the scenes almost plodding by. Fortunately, the scenes starring Takashi Sasano light up the screen as he stars as the disgruntled, bitter old man Mr. Shiomi. His progression from an angry old man to a happier, forgiving one is beautiful to watch and brings about a joy to the film. As we know, that happiness can’t last if Nami has anything to do with it. Nami’s character represents the evil, selfish side which introduces the horror elements of the movie, a troubled personality that can’t help but be traced back to her difficult childhood.

I can’t say I really enjoyed GREATFUL DEAD. The pacing was off and I struggled to feel anything for the adult character of Nami, even hate. As I aforementioned, it is Takashi Sasano who steals the show for me with his emotional performance throughout, with an energy that instantly grabs your attention. The horror element of this seemed so unnecessary and was brutal for brutal’s sake. I’m sure this movie will appeal to some fans of Japanese cinema but this particular title didn’t strike a chord with me in terms of storytelling.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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About Bat 4385 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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