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There is really one thing that truly makes this movie and that is its originality. The movie is unlike any other one, even if you are already familiar with Takashi Miike's style of film-making.

The movie is still an unusual but not as strange as you would expect perhaps from a Takashi Miike. While its different it still remains a perfectly accessible movie for everyone to watch. The movie is more unusual with its build up this time, which at the same time is also the main reason why this movie is such an original one to watch.

The first half of the movie is pretty usual and straightforward, as long as you can call a Takashi Miike movie normal and straightforward. It's interesting to see the movie slowly developing and heading into a direction you didn't expected to. It's therefore best to watch this movie without knowing too much about it, though that's quite hard, since this movie is being quite a popular and well known one by now.

What seems as a drama soon turns into an horror. This is a transition not used too often in movies, at least not as subtly and slowly as it got done in this movie. The second half of the movie can be experienced as real stomach turning to some, while the lovers of 'torture porn' will have plenty to enjoy. It's some real extreme stuff, that obviously also really inspired some Hollywood horror film-makers such as Eli Roth and James Wan. So yes, you could actually say that it's thanks to Takashi Miike (or you could blame him for it, depending on your taste) that we now often get to see so much extreme violent and graphic stuff in horror movies. The sort of stuff that is now often referred to as torture porn.

But calling this movie just torture porn really wouldn't be fair. It's way more than that. The movie has plenty of substance and above all things is really skilfully made, with lots of attention to detail. It might very well be Takashi Miike's best directing job he ever did on any movie. Watch this movie again and you'll realize how brilliantly and subtly the movie got all put together.

This movie is a real surprise!

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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