Marronnier (DVD)

“Puppets. Murder. Japanese school girls. Some things are just so strange that they have to be seen to be believed.” So reads a review on the back of the box for the latest piece of J horror that has come across my desk. The only thing I can’t believe is that I wasted an afternoon watching this incoherent crap fest.

Let’s start off with the story, if you can call it that. I shall quote the back cover yet again, as it makes a helluva lot more sense than anything in the film itself. “Marino loves her Marronnier doll that was unfortunately made by a demented genius who uses a diabolical machine to turn human beings into wax dolls.” Yep, that’s about all I got out of it too.

This film(!) is from top to bottom sloppy, tedious, and an absolute chore to sit through. Everything is a mess. Most notably the music. It doesn’t seem as if there was an actual score used in this film. Each time we’re introduced to a new scene (every 30 seconds it seems thanks to copycat American quick eMp-tv™ style editing), there’s a new piece of music. It never matches the theme and is distracting from what little flow the storyline has. Never before has such a bad job of scoring been more apparent. I just sat there astounded. Music (or lack thereof) can be a vital part of a film’s narrative. It can lead the viewers down whatever path a director wants to take them emotionally. This director set me on a path all right — straight to the volume control.

For gorehounds there are a couple of shining moments but little to write home about. Aside from the dolls themselves, which were interesting and sort of spooky looking, I can honestly say that there wasn’t anything else in this film that I either liked or that even moderately piqued my interest.

Elite Home Entertainment does a great job as per usual with this DVD release. It looks and sounds far better than it should. On the extras side of things (as if any viewer in their right mind -or- with a pulse would want more), we have the standard fare: deleted scenes, trailers, and some behind the scenes stuff.

I loathed this movie. Even at a 79-minute runtime it seemed about 69 minutes too long. While Japanese horror is very hot right now, and in my opinion our brothers in the East are doing far more amazing things within the genre in comparison to Hollyweird, this serves as a wake-up call that YES, shitty films are a global problem.

Marronnier (2004)
(Elite Home Entertainment)
Directed by Hideyuki Kobayashi
Starring Yuriko Anjho, Miyako Cojima, and Mizuki Hikaru

Special Features
Interview with Puppet Designer and Supervising Producer Junji Ito
Deleted Scenes
Doll Galleries

½ out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.