With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, November 13, 2006

ACF 015: Kill Devil

A government project involving muderous teens on an isolated island. Sound familiar?

Well, if you've seen or heard about Kinji Fukasaku's terrific Battle Royale (2000), it should. And it's pretty much this set up that has been appropriated and slightly tweaked by the makers of Kill Devil.

In 2017 a Dr. Kurata discovered that those having a certain gene means an individual has a 99% likelihood of committing murder. The film takes place in 2025 when the Japanese government has set up a program that's supposed to help the first seven teenage test subjects. But the real goal is just gathering data for future use.

Unfortunately, the acting is of a very low caliber. The directing is suggestive of a recent film school graduate who has some knowledge of filmmaking but either no ideas beyond the most basic, or no money to realize anything more complex. The violence isn't very terrifying at all. In fact, it's pretty much on the lame side.

There is an interlude involving a stylized sword fight training session that's shot against a blood red background. It's vaguely reminiscent of some Seijun Sezuki scenes, but totally lacks his panache.

An attempt at escape by three of the test subjects is incredibly stupid. At least the film has the self-referential decency to acknowlege this in a comment by one of the adult supervisors.

The film is not listed in the Internet Movie DataBase under this title or two a.k.a.'s I've come across: Kill The Devil and Kill Onigokko. Neither is the director, Yuichi Onuma.The only credits for the two top-billed youths, actress Yoshika Kato and actor Masahiro Kuranuki, are for one and two tv series, respectively.

The only significant extra is an alternate ending that consists of a music video of the film's youths dancing on a soundstage. See the bottom picture at the beginning of this post.

In sum, Kill Devil is a rather low-rent Battle Royale rip-off that doesn't deliver a lot. It comes across as a made-for-tv movie financed by a cable station without a lot of bucks to throw behind its projects. This is too bad, because the film does have a couple of interesting ideas. With some decent gore and/or some exposed female flesh, it could've been fairly interesting instead of just passable.

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