Dead Sushi DVD Review
Directed by Noboru Iguchi
Written by Noboru Iguchi and Makiko Iguchi
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 92 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 23rd September 2013
Rina Takeda as Keiko
Kentaro Shimazu as Yamada
Takamasa Suga as Nosaka
Takashi Nishina as Mr. Hanamaki
Asami as Yumi Hanamaki
Yui Murata as Miss Enomoto
The sort of film which crosses cultural lessons in what makes 'good sushi' (it's all about the precise application of pressure, apparently) with Braindead and Evil Dead 2 style splatterpunk violence. In Dead Sushi, a... well, sushi necromancer, brings all the sushi in a small Japanese hotel to life, whereupon they begin attacking the staff and guests.
A Japanese horror comedy of the most bizarre kind, Dead Sushi sees Keiko, an aspiring sushi chef, run away from home in shame (thanks to her inability to make sushi to her father's exacting standards) to join the hostess team of a little country hotel. When a party of corporate dick-swingers arrives at the hotel to sample its famous sushi, all manner of zombie sushi horror breaks loose. Death has never looked so tasty. Depending, of course, on one's feelings towards sushi. I myself am ambivalent at best, and Dead Sushi still managed to make me hungry. That said, Hannibal makes me salivate like a cannibal at a nudists' beach, so I am perhaps not the one to ask whether Dead Sushi will put you off your favourite snack for life.
Director Noboru Iguchi has made something of a name for himself already, turning stupid, often gross-out concepts into feature length films. With a CV which lists Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead and The Machine Girl among its highlights, you should know what to expect from Dead Sushi from Iguchi's IMDb profile alone. That his ABCs of Death segment was the daft and disgusting F is for Fart comes as no surprise, watching this amusing but frequently disgusting zombie horror film. Thankfully, it's perhaps Iguchi's best film yet, with surprisingly well-staged fight sequences, impressively gory body horror and a fine lead performance from Rina Takeda. Elsewhere, the CGI is awful, some of the special effects decidedly shoddy, and the writing ridiculous, but it all adds to the film's charm. This being a film in which people are chased around a hotel by flying sushi, it's hard to accuse anyone of not taking the concept seriously enough. Its villain is fantastic too, a sushi-loving tramp who runs around for most of the film rocking a giant fish head like a really cheap Doctor Who villain. Keep an eye out, too, for Egg Sushi – the cutest cuddly sidekick since Aladdin's monkey or Futurama's Nibbler. He's the film's breakout character. Also, a scene in which a knife-phobic janitor fends off sushi with a knife before descending into a screaming fit had me laughing far harder and longer than it should have.
Like the titular food, Dead Sushi won't be to all tastes. It's stupid, ridiculous and reliant upon gross-out humour. The special effects are terrible in places, some of the acting atrocious. Still I loved it, in all its insane glory, and was left starving for more. Starving in general, actually. Pass the ramen.
Video and Audio:
It looks and sounds as cheap as it no doubt was to make. Thankfully, the film's inventiveness more than make up for the lack of sheen. Subtitles and dubbing are available – personally, I'd go for the awful English dubbing. It only makes the film more of a hoot to watch.
There’s footage from the film's premiere, interview footage from the Fantasia Film Festival, trailers and a making of featurette. Dead Sushi Extreme Sushi Eating Contest is an I'm a Celebrity style food challenge hosted by film critic Devin Faraci, in which the film's director and a host of others eat a host of horrible sushi in order to win a prize. Pretty tame stuff, although the fertilised duck egg is a little hard to watch. Still, this all made me hungry too. I have problems.