Violator (2018)

Rating: C+

Dir: Jun’ichi Yamamoto
Star: Mai Arai, Shinichi Fukazawa, Shun Kitagawa, Sora Kurumi
a.k.a. Baiorêtâ

Well, if this isn’t the strangest film I see this year, it’s likely going to be ranked. On at least three occasions, I found myself thinking, “Well, this couldn’t get any weirder.” Then it did. I think we reached Peak WTF? when a woman buries a man’s face in her crotch. Then impales him through the head with a giant horn that shoots out of her genitals. Read that sentence again. Slowly. I’ll wait. Let me explain how we got there. Sorta. Arai plays a woman seeking her missing sister, who finds evidence suggesting a connection to an online mass suicide forum, and travels to the rural town given as a location, hoping to rescue her sibling. 

When she meets the rest of the group, who are indeed planning to kill themselves, the weirdness ramps up. Though there’s not much chance of this being seen as promoting suicide, because everybody in the cult are fuckwits or losers, a group of locals show up, concerned by the activity. When one of the group decides to quit, they follow and stomp her to death in the forest. Meanwhile, the residents’ leader paints his face in kabuki make-up, pulls his wife’s arm off (which conceals a sword) and uses it for decapitation purposes. Oh, then there’s Ms. Unicorn Twat. For it seems the locals, the oddest group this side of The League of Gentlemen, have decided: since these people were going to kill themselves anyway, they are fair game. Makes sense, to be honest.

Probably more sense than much of this did at the time. I will say, it does eventually offer an explanation, at least in orbit around the Coherence solar-system. Though events to that point may have recalibrated my scale in this regard, leaving me clinging to anything approaching logic, like a drowning man finding a lifebelt. It is worth noting the director is best known for Meatball Machine, one of the tentpoles of the New Japanes Gore cinema. This is restrained in arterial spray by comparison, although you can probably tell, “restrained” is not a word generally applicable. Nor is there much in the way of characters you can relate to: a bunch of suicidal nerds and a woman whose entire personality is “looking for her sister.”

That said, it’s never dull, and by the end, I had put together enough pieces to be satisfied with the ending. It’s a laudably bleak and cynical conclusion, in which the cycle of self-inflicted violence goes on, unabated. It may not quite live up to its opening warning card, which states, in endearing Japlish, “Warning. This film is a vulgar and violent work. The weak of the heart, the person who values morality mind, if you think that this world is beautiful, please stop appreciating it.” But I would be hard pushed to argue those statements are an inaccurate reflection, at least in spirit, of what you experience over the seventy-two minutes which follow.