Japanese Reviews Reviews

Film Review: Mukuro Trilogy (2015) by Katsumi Sasaki

The “” is a splatter anthology that consists of three short films by director , with each short being tied together with the similar theme of extreme violence leading to an equally violent revenge.

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In “Apartment Inferno” a group of men who make a profit off murder bring their most recent victim to an apartment occupied by a delusional young woman. The young woman only understands death and idles away her days by mutilating the corpses brought to her. However, when one of the men finds an interest in the misguided and muted character, it upsets the dynamic of the men.

“Sweet Home Inferno” focuses on the ritualistic murder of a girl by her family. The family believes that the youth has been possessed by a dark spirit and perform a magic ritual in order to cleanse her and have her reborn pure. The violent ritual succeeds in bringing her back, but not how the family envisioned.

In “Just Like Mother” a young woman returns from school only to find that her mother has been taken in by a group of men that have reduced her to a primordial state. Unable to recognize her own daughter, the mother is confined in a room and fed bloody scraps. When the men begin to break down the young woman resolve, a memento from the past sparks the mother's memory and drives her to revenge.

Within the “Mukuro Trilogy” lie three cohesive shorts which could exist as stand alone films. These shorts still match up well, carrying a consistent theme and style. Each shot succeeds in a few different aspects with the special effects being the most prominent. Each short blends the realistic gross out gore, with cartoon like, over the top styling, in a uproariously entertaining fashion. Having an interest in the most graphic and nasty aspects of Japanese cinema at a younger age, my interest in the genre began to wane with the more modern trends of splatter focused films. “Mukuro” transcends some of the more modern pieces by avoiding indulging overly in absurdity, as it showcases it without making it feel over indulgent or border into comedic territory.

The visual tone of the film stays consistently fast paced, with sharp cuts and great lighting that all seem to work in the favour of the showcasing of the practical effects. The visuals seem to know when to stay focused on a particularly nasty moment to build some nausea, while darting in and out of the more elaborate effects. This allows for moments of wonder and awe, without falling to overanalysis. It is this kind of reserve that allows for particular moments within the production to shine. Backing the visuals is a solid soundtrack, that touches on a few genres. The pop songs in the opening segment are complimentary to the dark and strange world of the mysterious woman who idles her days away in a room of bloody souvenirs.

With each short being able to stand on its own and having little deviation in theme or style, the formula does suffer from some repetition and I was not fond of the order in which the films were placed. My favorite short of the bunch,”Apartment Inferno” as a starting point kicks things off at a fast pace which is reduced in the next two. Makes the final entry feel a bit more reserved in content, while still being over the top, this is the only entry where the soundtrack deviates a bit from the formula of the first too as well, setting a more somber pace. The film, despite it's outlandish content, does slow a bit by the last segment.

The “Mukuro Trilogy” acts as a great showcase for an emerging talent in director Katsumi Sasaki. The film takes the sensational and gritty aspect of gore films and exemplifies that the genre still has great merit and can continue to grow among the trend of other titles that seem stagnated within the confines that the genre has created for itself over the years. It really seems to celebrate it's filth forefathers while executing an exhilarating take on the genre, which shows a great compassion for innovation in ideas and use of practical effects. Some pacing issues aside, this collection deserves a wider audience within the genre.

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

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