Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Saki Kagami, Nana Kasai, Yuriko Sakuma, Natsume Sano, Kotono Shibuya
Directed by Norihisa Yoshimura
From the director of Zero Woman: The Hunted comes a movie about women being hunted by bees that provides zero entertainment value. Ah, the circle of life.
For the life of me I cannot fathom how or why anyone thought to give this 2005 Japanese nature gone amok thriller an American DVD release. I cannot even fathom anyone in Japan wanting to watch this boring tripe. Was the company contractually obligated to do so? Did they acquire the film in a package deal with better films and decided to just dump it out to marketplace anyway? I wonder. That might explain why the DVD is so barebones it doesn’t even have a menu screen. There’s a company logo screen and a DVD credits pages, but no menu screen and no options. Your only option is to just not put it in your DVD player to begin. I highly recommend that option.
Killer Bees is 85-minutes of non-stop tedium. Even when the bees attack it’s anything but entertaining. It’s like somebody got a couple of semi-cute Japanese girls and two older guys together, went out to the Japanese countryside with an HD camera and a tent, found a nearby cabin to rent for a day, and filmed the most tepid killer bee movie I’ve ever seen. What little budget they had got blown adding the cheaply animated cartoon bees in post-production.
This isn’t a killer bee movie the likes of which we’re accustomed to seeing. These are not Africanized killer bees attacking Japan. They’re just highly dangerous bees with unnaturally venomous stings that rarely attack as a swarm, and given how spaced out the attack scenes are, rarely attack at all. Characters get stung once or twice by random bees sometimes leaving an abnormally large welt; that character will soon go into shock and die. The attack scenes are filmed without a trace of suspense or camp or any semblance of that over-the-top gore you tend to expect from modern Japanese genre films. Dull. Dull. Dull. That is unless you count Japanese girls screaming whenever they hear buzzing sounds to be gripping cinema.
The small cast limits the number of victims. That leaves more time for them to talk about the most mundane things possible or go frolicking in meadows or, eventually, spout off random facts about bees. Once they truly realize the peril they’re in, expect them to cry and mope a lot in the shrillest manner possible. This is a movie where a girl dying in another girl’s arms after getting stung tells her that she didn’t want to go on this trip to begin with but it was worth it just to become her friend – and then she dies.
As I was watching bored out of my mind I kept waiting for something to happen that might explain why this got a domestic release. Were the stings going to cause massive boils that erupted in gallons of gory goo splattering all over the place? Was a giant queen bee going to show up? Were these girls going to start running around naked, get molested by the adult male chaperone, or have it turn out that these mutant bees also have an obsession with schoolgirl panties? I kept waiting for some sort of hook to justify this dreck. There is no hook. It’s just a couple uninteresting girls on a field trip at the mercy of a few lethal bees with a lot of time to kill in between kills. How much nerve does it take for a DVD company to market a DVD as the “unrated edition” knowing full well that the movie is so tame it borders on being G-rated.
The only mild amusement I ever derived from this chore of a bore to sit through came in those few moments the director foolishly tries to do bee point-of-view shots that looks like he just put a peephole over the camera lens.
Alright. I’ll give Killer Bees some credit for being nicely photographed too. The cinematography is very glossy. So even though there’s nothing worth looking at, at least it’s nice looking nothingness.
1/2 out of 5
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