Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Imprint (2005)

Fear 0 - 5: 2
Gore 0 - 5: 5
Creepiness 0 - 5: 5
Entertainment 0 - 5: 5
Nightmare 0 - 5: 5

For those of you not indoctrinated into the sick and twisted mind of Takashi Miike, this may be his most vile piece of work yet. Following hot on the trails of his more 'famous' (at least stateside) work with Audition, comes this film that was actually DENIED an airing on Showtime. Yes kiddies, this was actually denied an airing on a premium t.v. channel (i.e. a channel that you actually have to pay extra for which mostly plays garbage to begin with).

Imprint, stars Billy Drago who looks like he could pass for Keith Richard's stunt double. He plays an American (its not stated specifically what he is, i.e. a business man) who returns to a Japanese brothel to see a woman that he made a promise to years ago. Upon returning to the brothel to 'rescue' his love from the lifestyle she has no desire to be in any longer, he finds that the women who run it are hiding a dark secret. The story evolves from there and travels down a couple of different paths, neither of which are totally clear or connected. Miike's movies usually have some sort of commentary on Japanese life (i.e. social taboos in Visitor Q). It is in this practice that many of the scenes in this movie and others, may get lost in translation with this reviewer.

What I can say is that I have never seen anything more cringe inducing and downright disturbing in my entire life when watching a horror movie (or any movie for that matter). Whereas most horror movies cut away from the hand being sawed off or the knee being hacked, Miike NEVER pans away with the camera and even zooms in on the gory mess ensuing. He has a knack for making the torture scene different and unique (see Audition). He has a way with making scenes so unsettling, that it literally makes you want to look away and curl up into the fetal position on your couch. In one reviewer on this site's words, 'I wanted to take a shower after watching that movie', when referring to Audition. The same can also be said for Imprint.

So what transpires after the arrival of Drago's character is one of the best torture scenes committed to film (as if the one in Audition couldn't be topped) and some of the most disturbing scenes involving the careless discarding of mammalian embryos. I don't want to provide any more specifics to give away all of the crazy twists and turns of this movie. Just get a hot shower ready afterwards to wash down the maddening feeling of grotesqueness.

Posted by: Cortez the Killer

* * * *

Fear: 1/5
Gore: 3/5
Creepiness: 4/5
Entertainment: 2/5
Nightmares: 0/5

Takashi Miike is hit or miss with me. Ichi The Killer is a great yakuza film that went to extraordinarily graphic lengths to be violent. Audition remains one of the most powerful horror films I have ever seen. However, he doesn't always hit the mark - his segment in the so-so Three Extremes was the least interesting of the three parts and Imprint left me feeling sort of "meh" as well.

Imprint is certainly over the top. Though not a particularly gory film, there are scenes that really are tough to watch. Cortez is correct when he states that the torture scene is gnarly. Needles under fingernails. Yikes. And incredibly realistic. Double yikes. But this isn't even what's gnarly about the film. It's the less graphic things that are part of the story, though never really seen, that push the envelope- incest, rape, and a generally misogynistic feel throughout the entire 63 minute running time. As I explained to a friend today, if you can think of something "fucked up", this movie probably touches on it.

It's just too much, but not in the "I can't believe I'm seeing this" kind of way. More in the "Ok, I get it - things are bad for this person, you're pushing boundaries, you're trying to get a rise out of me, I get it already". There really is a lot of nastiness packed into 63 minutes and by the time the finale rolls around, it just becomes kind of silly.

Auditon was so incredible because the horror hits the audience out of nowhere and it hits HARD. The bulk of the film seems tame enough, and really kind of goes nowhere and then - POW, you're fucked up by the final 15 minutes which is truly horrifying.

Imprint feels like it strives to offend and gross the audience out from the start and it never lets up. I was certainly impressed with Miike's efforts and ability to really go all the way, but it was so much that I was constantly aware of the effort and never had a chance to actually connect with the film.

Cortez will be disappointed. Sorry buddy. But your comparison of Billy Drago to Keith Richards was good. I was thinking Tom Petty.

- Complaint Dept.


Cortizzle said...

Still love ya K Murph but you can't tell me the throwing of aborted fetuses in the river did not get to you? I can not think of a more shocking scene committed to film in recent memory. Maybe if the movie was longer than 63 minutes you would get a better feeling of shock and awe. That's what makes Audition so great--the hour long set up and then the execution.

Anonymous said...

I HATE this movie/TV show. It was soooo bad. First of all, the main guy is such a bad actor (was he TRYING to sound like Charlton Heston?). The only scene that remotely bothered me was the pins under the nails scene, but I was so pissed at the end that I became so enraged - I had forgotten about the pins scene. Come on. A talking hand with teeth? AAAAGGGGHHHH. I love Cortez the Killer, but I just can't honor his word when it comes to horror movies any more. I want the 63 minutes of my life back that Takashi Miike stole from me.