Theatrical Release. Third Window Films.
has not been kind to tropical fish shop owner Shamoto (Mitsuru
Fukikoshi). His first wife dead, he now has a frustrating marriage
to Taeko (Mugumi Kagurazaka) and a stroppy teenage daughter
Mitsuko (Hikari Kajiwara) who hates her stepmother with a vengeance.
Unable to assert himself, Shamoto seems doomed to a life
of repressed misery until he meets fellow tropical fish seller
Murata (Denden), who is everything that he is not: outgoing,
confident and successful. Murata seems determined to help out
Shamoto, giving Mitsuko a job that takes her out of the family
home and offering to make her father part of his business. But
Murata and his wife Aiko (Asuka Kurosawa) are not the friendly
couple that they seem to be, a fact first suggested as Murata
gives Taeko the rough sex she craves and hammered home as he
poisons a business investor (and yakuza) in front of Shamoto.
Forcing his meek rival to help him, the psychotic killer reveals
that he has murdered numerous people, and made them become ‘invisible’
– dismembering the bodies and burning the bones. Shamoto
soon finds himself caught up in a nightmare situation –
forced to help Murata cover up his killings and drawn more and
more into the crimes. Inevitably, he’s eventually pushed
too far, and eventually snaps in an orgy of murder and rape.
Sono’s latest film is a very dark satire, based loosely
on a real-life killer couple, and moves at full throttle for
much of the 144 minute running time. Denden has fun as the flamboyant,
demented murderer, while Kurosawa is impressive as his equally
mad, and rather sex crazed wife, while Fukikoshi holds it in
as the mild-mannered man whose life is torn apart. The dismemberment
scenes are spectacularly gruesome and detailed, the sexual violence
challenging and the violence brutal, making this not for everyone
– but Sono’s direction is stylishly powerful and
he keeps the film moving along with a level of intensity that
rarely lets up. Stylistically, this is a world away from other
Sushi Typhoon productions like Alien
vs Ninja, but it does share a level of frenetic insanity
with more openly outrageous Japanese gorefests, making Cold
Fish a movie that will please both the horror fan and
the more adventurous arthouse patron. I think most of you will
love this demented, disturbing movie.