Saturday, October 26, 2019

Violence Voyager Review: Oh, Japan That's F'd Up

It's almost Halloween and we thought there would be a lot more horror movies going straight to demand this October. There really wasn't. But, then we were happy to see one we've been waiting for finally hit the market, but it's more than horror, it's pure Japanese WTF-erey in Violence Voyager.

Let's look at the trailer and yes, those are anime characters you've heard before. They got anime voice actors who've been in a number of other things.

WTF did we just watch, we pondered. We saw the trailer, but it couldn't prepare us for what happened. A totally weird story that has a definite Japanese sense of story and style. Oh, and a mad man turning children into a weird theme park in the mountains. Japan!

Meet Bobby, an American boy going to school in Japan. His best friend is Akun. And for fun this weekend they plan to cross the mountain to visit the neighboring village to meet their third best friend. They find a hidden theme park with the theme of an alien invasion. What starts of as fun adventure in the woods with very little parental oversight becomes a nightmare on par with 80's anime with little to no oversight.

Horrible, horrible things happen in Violence Voyager. Did someone say acid and weird transformation body horror? Pigeon milk, perhaps? Oh, it's here. And it stays on it and it's gross. Like a car wreck, you can't look away. You want to know what awful thing is to befall Bobby next.

Without getting to into, though the trailer spells it out, Bobby and Akun need to rescue a girl and get out of their or their dead or worse. And there's the worse than dead in this.

It's a truly weird story, but at the same time. The logic and weirdness, jokes and what have you feel totally Japanese. If you've ever watched some Japanese anime or films, you'll be like, "Oh, yeah, the story could only go this way with the Japanese sense of friendship and loyalty." The awful parenting, the elementary age children acting like teenagers, the one-off you'll not understand, because your too young midboss death; it's Japanese in it's core.

Now, is it anime? The style here is limited animation with cut-outs. And they hardly move and no ones mouth does. It didn't deter the film. It seemed like that was the only way it could be made. It adds a layer of strangeness. And a layer of, "What the Hell are you watching?" The look is fine, just don't go in expecting real animation. It's done by seemingly one man, the director and writer, Ujicha. We're assuming it's an alias, so he doesn't get committed to an asylum.

We wouldn't say this is a pick for Halloween, unless you want something messed up playing in the background of your party. Not a party for children, mind you, but adults. It is a horror movie, but also a Japanese WTF film, which is a subsection of films now. For those who like those kind of films come on board. Your friends who are watching in on the couch during said Halloween party, while people are mingling will need to be high. And then they might go, "I must be really high, because this movie is f'd up!"

Violence Voyager is available on Amazon, DirecTV, FlixFling, VImeo on Demand, Vudu, FANDANGO and AT&T.

Screening link provided by publisher for review purposes.