Saturday, 1 August 2015



The Japanese gore movie - as distinct from the chilling horrors of The Ring and The Grudge, or the unhinged madness of many of Takashi Miike's films - has long been a FrightFest staple. Splattery epics like Tokyo Gore Police, Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl and Alien Vs Ninja have cheerfully smothered the screen in gore, severed limbs and giant spurting fountains of blood; and Dead Sushi (a late night screening at FrightFest 2012) continues the tradition.

There is a particularly memorable line of dialogue in Joe Dante's Piranha, when a waiter has to inform his boss "It's the fish, sir: they're eating the guests." Which pretty well encapsulates the plot of Dead Sushi: mutated killer zombie sushi is unleashed by a ranting vagrant (for reasons of plot contrivance that are frankly too ludicrous to detail here) on a struggling inn that's currently hosting a corporate sushi banquet. Only the handyman and a waitress (who, in another happy plot contrivance, just happens to be the runaway daughter of Japan's foremost sushi chef), with the assistance of a small piece of mutated heroic egg sushi, can stop the flesh-eating sashimi from escaping into the outside world and unleashing fishpocalypse upon mankind....

You can fill in the blanks from there: the fearless overacting and mugging, ridiculous dialogue, unconvincing monster effects (the CGI is pretty awful but the prosthetic and make-up effects are okay), some martial arts, a bit of perving, and buckets of gore. Serious analysis of the plot, or even merely mentioning that it's a phenomenally silly film, seems almost beside the point for a film where even "being any good" wasn't on anyone's list of priorities. Yet, that said, Dead Sushi does end up as actually rather sweet and funny and good-natured. For all the blood and death it's far too ludicrous to be even remotely offensive, even in its more excessive moments. Rather, it's surprisingly good fun on a mindless knockabout level, and the silliness steadily escalates to the point where it's impossible to take a single frame of it at all seriously. But why would you? It's about killer sushi, for goodness' sake!

A glance at his IMDb page confirms that director Noboru Iguchi has been churning out this sort of gory twaddle for some years now: Machine Girl is probably the best known of them (along with the awful F Is For Fart segment of The ABCs Of Death), though I'm now mildly intrigued as to what Zombie Ass: Toilet Of The Dead is all about. By any critical yardstick Dead Sushi isn't very good, but against other Japanese gore comedies it's a decent enough entertainment.


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