original title: Gurotesku
aka: Martyrs 2
Director: Kôji Shiraishi
Starring: Tsugumi Nagasawa, Hiroaki Kawatsure, Shigero Ôsako
King of Japanese grotesque movie
Aki and Kazuo is having their very first date and things are going very well for them. They both are very attracted to each other and both are hoping that this date will be the first of many. On their way home, they both get kidnapped.
They wake up shackled up and gagged in a basement where they also meet their kidnapper. He is dressed in a doctor outfit and starts to degrade, torture, humiliate and mutilate these two young adults for days.
Grotesque made quite a stir when it came out. It was banned in England after the BBFC decided that anyone who would watch this would be in great risk. I guess if I ever end up kidnapping, torturing and molesting someone, then I can blame it on this movie.
Some have compared this to the first two Guinea Pig movies, and I can see why. The plot is very simple, the main focus is to make the viewers uncomfortable and show human depravity on film. For fans of shocking films of Japan however, this stuff is not something they stopped making after Guinea Pig. There have been grotesque films made in Japan each and every year since the 80’s and several of them are more disgusting than Grotesque and would probably make the BBFC ban Japan from the world map.
Most of those are however very low budget and look shoddy, which actually helps them looking more realistic and disturbing. Grotesque looks better than most of the other nasty films from Japan. Even though there is a lot of nasty stuff in this film, it didn’t gross me out as much as it tried to. That’s not to say that the average film viewer won’t be disgusted by it, but for me who has seen a lot of sadistic films this did not make the cut.
It seemed like they were unsure of where they should go at the end of the film and I disliked the ending. Writer/director Kôji Shiraishi should have found a better way to round this up and it made the entire film look more silly. Shiraishi is not a newcomer to the horror genre either, he did Ju-Rei: The Unborn, Noroi The Curse and several others that rely more on scares than shock.
Grotesque is not an easy film to watch, but there’s also several other films from Japan that are more nasty and effective than this one. It stretches the material as much as it can and it has a poor ending. I would not recommend this to anyone else than fans of Japanese gore films.