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COLD FISH
Theatrical Release. Third Window Films.

Cold FishLife 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.

Cold FishSion 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.

DAVID FLINT

 

 

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