Shigeo OsakoSenritsu Kaiki File KowasugiChika KuboyamaShohei Uno
Senritsu Kaiki File Kowasugi: Final Chapter
Medium: film
Year: 2015
Writer/director: Koji Shiraishi
Actor: Shigeo Osako, Chika Kuboyama, Koji Shiraishi, Shohei Uno
Keywords: Senritsu Kaiki File Kowasugi, horror, cinema verite, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 89 minutes
Website category: J-horror
Review date: 9 July 2024
Senritsu File Kowasugi 7
Despite its title, it's not the last Kowasugi. Shiraishi's since made three more, one of them only last year... and yet that's still the correct title for this film. It's the triumphant, fucked-up, hilarious finale of his seven-film low-budget mockumentary epic. It's awesome. The level of crazy here is something special.
It begins with the previous film's sole survivor, now live-streaming internet broadcasts while reporting on the absurd thing that's been floating in the sky above Tokyo for months. That's from the last film. We know what it is, probably, sort of. However, there are also new weird things, e.g. the "dolls" that have appeared in the streets and the sinister sky-worshippers who surely can't be up to any good.
Those "dolls" aren't children's toys, by the way, but instead the size and shape of an adult man. Imagine a Guy Fawkes effigy on Bonfire Night, made of newspapers and garbage bags.
So far, so Senritsu Kaiki File Kowasugi... but I haven't reached the mental bit yet. A bloke called Eno appears with, allegedly, the ability to help rescue Kudo and Ichikawa from the parallel hell dimension in which they're currently stuck. This dimension is approaching ours quite fast and there will be catastrophic consequences if they meet. How does Eno know all this? Where do his teleportation powers come from? Is he a nutcase? No time to worry about that now! Don't you want to rescue your friends? Well, follow me and do as you're told. There are four tasks that need completing, after which Kudo and Ichikawa will be restored. You might think they're a bit weird, but trust me.
"Okay," says Tashiro, entering a land of mental.
TASK ONE = a gentle introduction, since it doesn't involve breaking any laws or hurting anyone. Just take those two dolls from that hostile homeless bloke. This seems guaranteed to end in strong-arming, but it's amusing to watch Tashiro's doomed attempts to resolve the situation in a civilised fashion. When he has no choice, he's ultimately forced to resort to extremely polite and injury-free violence. I laughed. He tried to be nice!
TASK TWO = WHAT THE HELL?!? Only in Japan. Seriously, a thousand people could have tried to write this movie and I'm pretty sure only Koji Shiraishi could even have imagined Task Two. Yet again, Tashiro's politeness in the face of insanity is funny. I was in hysterics.
TASK THREE = the one that breaks Tashiro. He decides that this task (again far worse than the previous one) is too much, so he tries to run. This is a mistake. It ends in a gun to his head, the requirements getting even grosser and the world going a bit Romero (except weirder). My only quibble is that I'm not sure if the key scene contained enough gore.
TASK FOUR = the worst one yet.
...but after that's completed, there's still another half-hour to go. These tasks won't last the whole movie, will they? Answer: no, but what came next made me laugh aloud. Kudo and Ichikawa are brilliant. (Kudo's also appalling, admittedly.) I love them. Kudo's low budget filmmaker reaction to the previous film's sales is hilarious under the circumstances, while I was in stitches at the doomed sexual proposition (and Ichikawa's opinion of it, and him).
I should apologise to Shiraishi for continually misjudging this series. I repeatedly underestimated him, e.g. in my assessment of the crazy visual choices, or his ability to keep surprising me. I won't edit those earlier reviews, though. They're a record of my reactions at the time. I admire this series for how it keeps changing its apparent genre and increasing its level of ambition. I love how wild and Fortean it is (to an ambitious degree that puts most supernatural films to shame) and the way it's dissecting every J-horror convention you can think of, not to mention lots of Japanese urban legends and myths. (While even including a nod to Tetsuo: The Iron Man and its Body Hammer sequel.)
This film is the funniest thing I've ever seen from Shiraishi... but it's also scary. I have a theory that this filmmaking sub-genre is inherently unnerving, whether you call it mockumentary, found footage or whatever. I'm also pretty sure that Koji Shiraishi is its king. In 2016, he even published a book (Textbook of Fake Documentaries) about how he makes his mockumentaries. I don't think anyone one else in the world has made anything like the Kowasugi series, even without Shiraishi's other pseudo-documentary horror films like Noroi: The Curse, Occult, Cult, Welcome to the Occult Forest, etc.
I've added more Shiraishi films to my watching queue. Obviously, though, my priority is continuing with Kowasugi.