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XX (Ekusu Kurosu): Makyo Densetsu


Japan 2007
produced by
XX Seisaku Iinkai, Toei
directed by Kenta Fukasaku
starring Nao Matsushita, Ami Suzuki, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Ayuko Iwane, Nozomu Iwao, Kyoji Kamui, Rikiya Koyama, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Shoko Nakagawa, Takashi Nishina, Maju Ozawa
screenplay by Tetsuya Oishi, based on the novel by Noboyuki Joko, music by Yoshihiro Ike

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After breaking up with her boyfriend, Shiyori  (Nao Matsushita) decides to travel to some hot springs in the middle of nowhere with her best friend Aiko (Ami Suzuki). In the cabin they're staying at, Shiyori finds a cellphone that isn't hers, but when it rings she accepts the call anyways - and it's a stranger telling her to get the hell out of here because the locals here are religious fanatics who like to cut off female legs. And as soon as the stranger, one professor Mononobe, has had his say, Shiyori already finds the locals banging on her door, and she only just makes a getaway. But on the run, she more and more suspects Aiko, whom she got seperated from earlier on, to have lured her into a trap ...

Aiko in the meantime has no idea what's going on with Shiyori, but suddenly she finds herself on the run from Reika, a woman whom she has once stolen the boyfriend from - and since Reika has gone so mental she now wants to kill Aiko, using scissors of various sizes (with the emphasis on large). Aiko does her best to save her own life, but Reika seems to be indestructible ...

The more Shiyori is on the run, the more she becomes convinced that Aiko is actually her enemy, and when against all odds, her ex-boyfriend shows up to save her, she hops into his car and doesn't wait for Aiko, even though she has promised her to do so via cellphone. When her ex tells her that it was actually Aiko who seduced him - which led to their breakup -, Shiyori only feels herself confirmed in her distrust towards Aiko ... but then her ex takes her back to the hot springs, ties her to a cross and tries to cut off her leg - turns out he has actually lured Shiyori to the hot springs and not Aiko. Now it's upon Aiko to save Shiyori, and she does her best to fight off Shiyori's ex and the local fanatics, but armed with only a cellphone (!), she fights a losing battle ... until Reika, who's still after her, arrives, and totally oblivious to the goings on, she kills herself through the locals just to get to Aiko - and distracts them just long enough for Shiyori and Aiko to get away thanks to professor Mononobe, who has just come by to pick them up ...

Now I don't know if my synopsis makes too much sense (and it certainly doesn't put as much of an emphasis on the use of cellphones as the film does), but that said, the film in itself makes perfect sense in its own weird way, and effortlessly, it switches gears from creepy to bizarre to outrageous (in a gorey kind of way) to (intentionally) hilarious without ever missing a beat, tells its parallel storylines out of sequence as if they were meant to be told that way, and features an abundance of highly original plottwists (that often even change the mood of the film from one moment to the next). An elegant directorial effort and a competent ensemble cast of course don't hurt one bit either.



review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



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