Marronnier DVD Review

Peter West

DVD released by Elite Entertainment

Directed by Akira Kobayashi
Story by Junji Ito
2004, Region 1 (NTSC), 80 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on June 7th, 2005

Starring:
Haruna Hoshino as Yuri Ichijyo
Misao Inagaki as Mitsuba Hidaka
Takanori Kagami as Kagami
Hideyuki Kobayashi as Kurataro Kitawaki
Miyako Koga as Mitsuko
Kuroka as Fortune Teller
Mayu as Marino Kitawaki
Hiroto Nakayama as Soichiro Numai
Ochyazukenori as Tadao Iwata
Miki Yoshida as Madoka Taniyama

Movie:

A marronnier is a lifelike doll with lifelike human characteristics, and they are coveted by Japanese schoolgirls. Some are small, others are life-sized. Marino has some of the best marronniers, but little does she know they are created by a demented madman Iwata, who creates them with a machine that turns humans into dolls.

When the Iwata's assistant Numai becomes obsessed with Marino, he kidnaps her friends and Marino sets out to save them. The story takes a bizarre turn into the realm of insanity. There's no limit to what Numai will do to get Marino's affection, and when her friends intentions are revealed, he's not the only one in love with her. There's schoolgirls in uniform, lesbian crushes, and a ton of gore as Marronnier takes us to a world that has to be seen to be believed!

Review:

I've seen a few Japanese films that are really out there, Stacy is a good example. Marronnier won't disappoint you if you like offbeat whacky comedy. The main plot is pretty simple, but from there the zanyness begins. Combine the comedy with tons of gore, and I don't mean just blood and guts. There's arterial splatter, severed limbsand in the style of Dead Alive, Marronnier is so bloody you cease to be shocked!

If you're a fan of fine Japanese cinema, well you might want to pass on Marronnier. If you like madcap action and gore, then Marronnier is the film for you.


Video and Audio:

Marronnier was shot on digital video and is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The subtitles are slightly cropped on the bottom of the letters when there are two lines of text. This is either from my TV or DVD player, because I played the DVD on my PC and they looked fine. So if you see that, it's your equipment not the DVD. There are some parts of the film when it looks slightly blurred, this is intentional, the cinematographer occasionally uses solarization effects as well. Overall the quality of the picture is about average, given the low budget nature of the film, it's not unexpected.

There's both a Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 soundtrack on the disc. They don't mention this on the cover, so it was a unexpected surprise. A good mix of pleasant and eerie music provides tension when needed and really compliments the visuals.

Special Features:

There's a 30 and 60 second trailer on the DVD as well as doll galleries and deleted scenes. A interview with Junji Ito is also included. Overall not bad for low budget film.

Grades:

Movie: 3.5 Stars
Video: 3.5 Stars
Audio: 4.5 Stars
Features: 3.5 Stars
Overall: 3.5 Stars

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