Sunday, September 7, 2008

Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki (1991)

Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki is a sequel in name only. It is the story of a fat and unattractive young female serial killer who murders prostitutes. She stalks the city streets without narrative, while dealing with haunting visions of a young boy and her lack of sex appeal.
There is none of the kinetic energy present in the first film. There is none of the rock music or fast zoom shots of the first film. The tone is dark, brooding, and bitterly artistic. It is a grotesque portrait of a modern Japanese urban landscape, lit with neon signs reflecting on puddles of rainwater on the streets. The camera always moves slow and there are several long takes. The characters are not particularly likeable and are presented in unflinching, unapologetic manner. In the nihilistic world created in Evil Dead Trap 2, everybody could die and we wouldn’t particularly care.
I still enjoyed it thoroughly. The emphasis of this film is style rather than plot or character development, or even action. The visuals reminded me of some of the modern Asian art film classics by Wong Kar Wai and Tsai Ming Liang. I have always loved disillusioned portraits of urban decay. It reminded me of the time I spent living in Bangkok.
I’ve never got deep into Asian horror, and it’s still a realm I plan to explore. Like most Americans, the ghost stories about women with long black hair and big eyes got old pretty quick. I’ve seen a few other Japanese horror films that fans of the Evil Dead Trap movies might find interesting. Angel Dust, available from New Yorker Home Video, Neighbor Number 13, are reminiscent in style and subject matter and I recommend them highly.
Evil Dead Trap 2: Hideki is now available again on DVD from Unearthed Films.

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