Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Deathmas: Kazuo Umezz's The Present

メリー クリスマス! Today's film is The Present, which is actually more of a Short than a film. It comes to us from Kazuo Umezz, a Japanese Horror Writer who is apparently pretty prevalent. I suspect it's a situation like with Jack Ketchum. He's a very prolific Writer and has many film adaptations of his work...but I haven't ever read any of it. If you have, more power to you. I'm here to be festive, so let's get to it. This is a story about Santa Claus...killing Japanese twenty-somethings in an abandoned Hotel. I guess the old saying is true: 'The more things change, the more things stay the same. All you have to say here is 'Japanese Killer Santa' and you've sold many people. There's...well, there's more going on here though. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. To find out whether this film is naughty or nice, read on...
It all begins with a little kid sick in bed.  If you turn this into The Princess Bride, I' very confused.
 Seemingly jumping ahead several years, our heroin is going to a Christmas Party with all of her friends.  She plans to offer up a very special present to a guy she likes: herself.

Please ignore this obvious Final Girl set-up.  She's totally in danger.
However, the Merry bunch are being watched by one man: Santa Claus.

I know, I was hoping for an *actual* Japanese Santa, but I'll take this one too.  Hopefully it's not Garbage Day!
Did I mention that this film is gory yet?  Well, holy shit is it gory.  Nearly every kill happens off-camera (must be a budget thing), but you definitely see the bodies!
I just want to mention that evil Santa has a Christmas Tree Star on a chain that he tries to kill people with.  That's...all I have to say.
Unfortunately, this film has one major knock against it: lots of torture scenes.  They're just gross and mean for no reason.

Well, in hindsight, my Jack Ketchum comparison proves to be quite accurate!
Our heroes are kind of screwed, but a lot of this has to do with them being idiots to the Nth Degree.  Case in point: this guy somehow doesn't realize that his leg has been cut off!!!
All hope appears to be lost and our heroine appears to bite the dust when...

She wakes up!  No, really.
This takes a turn for the worse when her friend appears to be killed (over the phone) and she's attacked.  What's going to...

She wakes up, again!  Yeah, this whole thing was a kid's complex, David Lynch-style fever dream  Ugh!  The End.
You had me...and then you lost me.  'Japanese Killer Santa' = great.  The actual a mixed bag.  I liked the idea, but I didn't care much for the execution.  The actual plot is so stock and cliche at the beginning that it's laughable.  It takes a dramatic turn for the weird when Santa starts killing people.  The film turns dark and ugly when Santa starts dismembering people and chopping up the body parts.  Oh and he feeds the meat to his off-camera Reindeer.  This is super-creepy and I want to like it...but it's just torture.  It's gross and dark for no good reason.  It takes a final turn for the @%$# you when they pull the 'It's a dream' crap TWICE!  It's a bad thing to do once...but twice?  You can just go to Hell, movie!  Yes, you deserve to die and I hope you burn in Hell!  If I were to say one last positive thing, it's this: the movie is 45 minutes long.  Take us away, off-screen killer reindeer...
Next up, Christmas gets ruined by the final part of a Christmas Slasher trio.  Nothing says the Holidays like annoying douche bags and a man with an eye patch!  Stay tuned...

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