Back when I was annoying people with the topic of the most disturbing films ever, this film came up as a reader’s suggestion. The thing about that topic that many readers didn’t understand was that what is disturbing is very subjective. I mentioned films that weren’t even horror films on my list of most disturbing films. I think there are also tons of fans out there that want to hate on certain sub-genres. I don’t know why. Maybe it gives them a sense of belonging among their genre friends, or gives them a feeling of importance. Many would say that about me and this stupid blog; but, I do this as a creative outlet and a way to get in touch with like-minded people. You will also notice that I don’t unnecessarily bash films. It isn’t worth my time or energy to harp on why a certain film sucks. That is why you will only rarely find a film on this site with a drastically negative review.
Written and directed by Koji Shiraishi, Grotesque is a pretty good example of extreme film. Unlike the three readers that suggested this film, it would not even earn a place in my top ten list of most disturbing films. It is, however, pretty freakin’ unsettling. It has tons of blood and it’s full of graphic torture. The Eli Roth hater, will say this is just another example of Hostel and torture porn. They will quickly dismiss the film. These are the genre people I am talking about. I take this film for what it is, an example of Hostel and torture porn. Then I compare it to other films of that genre, and tell you if it is worth owning. I have an appreciation for pretty much every horror genre. This is not my favorite; but, I do get into them every once in a while.
This film takes at least two of the Hostel films to the next level. It is way better than Hostel 2 and 3. I think the original Hostel has some sort of significance in bringing this type of film back from the dead, so I wouldn’t put this one above it. This film differs from Hostel in that it is probably closer to Guinea Pig: Flowers of Flesh and Blood. It doesn’t spend a ton of time dealing with plot, which Hostel actually did attempt to do. This film has a plot. It is just revealed slowly, through a few quick scenes scattered throughout the film. It spends most of its time focusing on the level of brutality that it can portray with its awesome special effects. This is what the true gore hound will appreciate.
It also has what every extreme Asian film possesses, a couple WTF moments. Films like Tokyo Gore Police and Evil Dead Trap are examples of these types of films. They always find something to do that is confusing as hell. It’s usually something disgustingly memorable, but often difficult to explain. The absurd situations that Japanese filmmakers find for their characters gives the genre an interesting twist. They also tend to find surreal ways to end their films, that leave the viewer thinking.
This film has all of these positive features of the Asian Extreme, snuff, and torture porn genres. The problem is that it doesn’t set itself apart in any way. I would recommend every other film mentioned in this review above this one. It is, however, a decent example of the genre. It is available on many streaming services, so it is cheap and easy to find. This definitely makes it worth your time. I would not pay $20 to own it; but, I would give it a watch it on Netflix or Shudder. The bottom line is that it is an average film within its genre. I recommend purchase only for the fanatic of the sub genres mentioned above.
This one gets 3 out of 5.