Wednesday 19th November 2008
Anyone believing that the Japanese horror film industry had run out of creative steam in recent years will find many reasons to reconsider that opinion in the revelatory horror-comedy X-Cross, released on DVD (£14.99) by 4Digital Asia on 19th January 2009, the fourth and by far the most impressive and accomplished feature from director Kenta Fukasaku (Yo-Yo Girl Cop; Under The Same Moon; Battle Royale 2: Revenge).
Based on the hit novel by Nobuyuki Joko, scripted by Tetsuya Oishi (Death Note: The Last Name; Death Note; One Missed Call) and starring up-and-coming Japanese star Nao Matsushita (Sand Clock) and J-Pop star Ami Suzuki Ami (Rainbow Song), the film plays out like a bizarre mix of elements from The Wicker Man, Friday the 13th and The Burning complete with inventive 'Rashomon'-style flashbacks that coolly and cleverly reveal the plot and its many twists through several different perspectives.
Having recently split up with her first boyfriend and in need of some sympathy, Shiyori (Nao Matsushita) is invited for a girls-only getaway by her best friend, Aiko (Ami Suzuki), who is keen to enjoy some relaxation time away from her quartet of current boyfriends. Together, the two friends head off to stay at the remote Ashikari Camp Grounds, a former logging village now reinvented as a hot springs spa resort. While bathing in the springs on their first night in the village the girls have an argument, prompting Shiyori to head back to their cabin alone. There, she discovers a mobile phone ringing and, on answering it, hears a mysterious voice warning her, 'Get the hell out. They'll cut off your leg.'
It's not long before Shiyori discovers that the village is home to a cult of scythe and axe wielding locals with a penchant for the ritualistic severing of women's legs and she's next in line to join the list of unfortunate amputees. Meanwhile, Aiko has just stumbled across an equally pestiferous problem of her own. A crazy, one-eyed Harajuku girl armed with several giant pairs of scissors is stalking her and appears to be intent on cutting short not only Aiko's brief break with her friend but also her life.
Stylishly shot, high on heart stopping shocks and impishly funny, X-Cross is a riotous thrill ride from start to finish, and features one (or perhaps the only!) of the most intense and impressively choreographed 'giant scissors versus chainsaw' duels you'll ever see. This is one film that is almost certainly destined for cult classic status amongst discerning horror fans and Asian cinema enthusiasts.
- None or TBC
Please note - Disc special features are subject to change, may differ from format to format and/or may differ from region to region.