Black Kiss (DVD)
Directed by Mocoto Tezka
Distributed by Tokyo Shock
Aspiring models in Tokyo need to be on the lookout. If you are within the vicinity of a girl named Asuka and you look better than her, your days are numbered! The second you see a woman in an all black leather outfit at either Club Vertigo or the Bat's Motel, you know that your time has come to an end on this planet because you'll soon be sawed up into tiny bits.
That's pretty much the synopsis of Black Kiss. Sound like lots of fun? It did at first. The DVD cover promised a healthy dose of eye pleasing deaths, but the story that wrapped around them was so confusing and familiar that it almost prompted a side-by-side comparison to older films in the horror genre. Black Kiss plays out like a drinking game for horror aficionados; take one drink for a Hitchcock reference, take two drinks for a gimmick that is clearly Argento's and drink a whole bottle of whiskey if your friends ask, "What the fuck is going on?" Black Kiss may not be another cheap horror film, but it's still a hard sell to even the easiest to please fan of the genre.
There comes a time when some directors just need to stop paying homage to the masters and try to make a name for themselves. Mocoto Tezka just can't do this. He cannot even show the slightest spark of the originality that his father, Osamu Tezka (creator of Astro Boy), should have handed down genetically. Instead of taking the reigns of Japanese horror and steering it into a new direction, Mocoto prefers to play it safe by imitating older, better films and confusing his audience. Not every film from the East has to be another Ring, but goddamn; if I wanted to see an Argento or Hitchcock film, I would have rented one. At least then you have a better bet of seeing a good film.
A word of advice for those who want to check out this flick: The fast forward button will be your best friend. Between the dragging detective story and the yawn-inducing modeling career of Asuka, there are some pretty awesome torture/death scenes. They may not put films like Se7en or Saw to shame, but they are good for a few moments that will inspire some people to say, "Daaaaaamn!" Or you'll just start laughing when a dead woman's stuffed head starts to move its eyes and almost blink, but now we are just being nit-picky. As soon as you hit the rooftop climax, just turn the DVD player off.
There's nothing special about the special features either. Both featurettes are boring with the exception of an interview with Mocoto Tezka where he pretty much spoils the movie by severely narrowing down the list of suspects who are killing off Asuka's competition. If you just have to watch some of the bonus material before the actual film, then the deleted scenes are a good choice, albeit a dull one. Like so many other DVDs that sport cut material, the viewer will gain no new knowledge about the film or the characters by watching this.
Maybe too much was expected by looking at the box art. The thought of a Japanese movie that had elements of recent splatter flicks and iconic directors sounded good on paper; however, once one dives into the experience, all the luster washes away and you are left in a kiddy-pool of semi-stale ideas.
Mystery of the Black Kiss featurette
Truth of Black Kiss featurette
2 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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