With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Sunday, April 05, 2015

KILLERS streets Tuesday, April 7th

 Directed by the "Mo Brothers" (Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto)
Indonesia/Japan, 2014, 138 minutes
Languages: Japanese, Indonesian, & English

Killers, a horror-thriller from the Mo Brothers (Macabre), debuts on Blu-ray™ and DVD this coming Tuesday, April 7th from Well Go USA Entertainment. This review is based on watching the Blu-ray version, the transfer of which is outstanding, as one has come to expect from Well Go USA.

There are two killers in the film, though they might more acutely be described as psychopathic & sadistic murderers. Nomura (Kazuki Kitamura, Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2) is a handsome young man who lives in Tokyo and who's into picking up lovely young things. After having sex with them, he tortures and brutally murders them, capturing this aberrant behavior on video which he then surreptitiously posts on the internet.

Nomura, right, and one of his victims

Bayu (Oka Antarra, The Raid 2) is a journalist in Jakarta whose career has floundered since he failed to properly document his accusations against the wealthy and powerful Mr. Dharma (Ray Sahetapy, The Raid: Redemption). He and his wife have separated, though he does get to sspend time with his daughter Elly. Bayu happens to come across one of Nomura's snuff videos and is fascinated by it.

Whereas Nomura is a "natural" torturer and murderer, Bayu only gets drawn into being one after he is the victim of a vicious attack.

After Bayu posts a video of his first kill, Nomura tracks him down on the internet and the two begin a long distance relationship (conveniently conducted in English so there's no language barrier).

Video journalist Bayu Aditya

While Nomura is merely a serial killer with his own sick rationale for his behavior, Bayu is more like a vigilante, seeking to punish only those who are guilty of societal transgressions. But his murderous activities make it hard for him to maintain a moral compass. So although one kills for "pleasure" and the other for "justice," the distinction between them becomes more and more narrow.

Torture porn is not my thing, and I'm not really familiar with the genre. I've never seen, for example, any of the Saw films. The closest I've come is recently watching David Cronenberg's Videodrome (1983), in which torture was a significant,m though not prime, element.

That being said, Killers strikes me as a fairly decent, well made entry in the field.  For me it was not an easy watch, at least as far as the torture scenes went, but I was impressed with it overall. Direction, editing, pacing, and acting were all quite solid.

Nomura and victim

The only extras are the film's trailer and some other Well Go USA preview trailers. The audio options are 5.1 DTS HDMA or 2.0 Stereo. The disc offers English subtitles that can be turned off.

My guess is that the re-watch value of Killers directly correlates to how much torture porn appeals to the individual viewer. For me, it'll be a long time, if ever, before I watch it again.  Still, it was a film I have no regrets about having seen. And I just loved the ironic, self-referencing final two words in the movie A great touch to go out on.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; a good film, recommended with reservations about the subject matter.

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