Review by: Ifakoya English
It is amazing what you find when you are on the search for nice vampire films to watch. Ranging from the standard monster flick to the oft-maligned romantic variant, vampire films come in many shapes and forms. However, this is possibly one of the only times where the classic vampire film has taken the form of a partially silent avant-garde indie horror vampire drama art film that I do not believe has been attempted since this film was released. Avant-garde vampire films are far from new, but this strange creature is in a class of its own.
This film follows the rather confusing adventures of a young woman (played by Ayumi Kakizawa) who begins to exhibit your typical vampire symptoms. E.g., hallucinations, aversions to crosses, the lust for blood, randomly placed time cuts, sudden muteness, and irritating mouth breathing. To compound these problems, she has a boyfriend who is very much into vampires and not in a fun way. Shortly after her hellish awakening & her boyfriend trying to get some sweet loving, some random group of older vampires kidnaps them. That is about as much a coherent plot that this movie has…and it only gets worse as you go.
This unholy, eighteen-wheeled truck of a film hits the viewer head-on. Annihilating what little sense the plot made earlier. Overexposure and an ever-present black and white filter suddenly replaces color. Voices are gone and then followed by silent film dialogue slides that explain nothing. Mostly heavy breathing, with occasional lines from the boyfriend who mostly groans in absolute pain half the time, fills what little script was there. It’s almost as if the sound engineer got annoyed and walked off into the night never to be seen again, which meant that KYUKETSU had to suddenly become some nonsense tribute Nosferatu and Cuaeduc, Vampir to make up for it.
For pretty much the rest of the short running time, you are set to watch what is essentially the world’s most melodramatic birthday party mixed with an amateur student art film. The plot is clearly a secondary in regards to everything else. The art and dance skills of the head vampire (played by Ko Murobushi) are showcased with a loose, bare-bones plot to actually tie it all together. Basically this movie is marred by over-ambition. If ones interest in KYUKETSU drifts from the artistic aspect then it is likely to lose anyone who attempts to sit through it.
Directed by Naoki Yoshimoto, KYUKETSU is a prime example of when aiming for lofty heights can go completely and violently wrong. The whole thing plays like a vampiric version of Tetsu The Iron Man, only even more confusing.
The good points? The lighting of the film is quite interesting, playing with shadows and light almost like a classical painting. But in no way does it make for a pleasant viewing experience as you strain to see smaller details. There are occasional splashes of color to lighten the load right before amateurishly applied film effects ruin the shot. The percussion aspect of the film is fine when not overtaken by the imbalanced vocal assaults sprinkled throughout.
Truly, for the small things the film gets right, it gets just about every other thing wrong. Well…it’s certainly an experience.
Written & Directed by: Naoki Yoshimoto
Alternate Title: Sanguivorous
Released: Nov 19, 2013
Running time: 57 min