Versus (2000) – Film


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31 Days of Horror Challenge: Movie #16

Somewhere in Japan is the 444th Portal, known as The Forest of Resurrection.  Prisoner KSC2-303 and a kidnapped girl are brought there by the Yakuza to wait for The Man.  As they await The Man’s arrival, tempers flare, people get killed and they realize that in the forest, the dead come back as zombies.

I watched this, the first time, with the English voice-over-translation.  I recommend against that, unless you’re looking for more comedy than horror.  The over-the-top sound effects in the English version are really a distraction.  I watched it a second time in the original Japanese with subtitles, and thankfully the gratuitous, cartoonish sound effects were only part of the English version.  What I saw with the second viewing was the darker horror film I wanted.

This was the first feature film from writer/director Ryûhei Kitamura, which served to establish his signature style of film making.  You can see and feel the influences of the film makers who inspired him, such as Sam Rami and John Carpenter.

The story, a tale of the recurring battle of good versus evil, was interesting, if a little bit of a slow burn.  Though, a lot of action, lots of blood and gore, good music, and yes, a splash of comedy, succeeded to keep the film from dragging.  This movie has everything, mysticism, martial arts, sword fighting, zombies, and an little twist at the end!

I enjoyed the film, the combination of styles, and the epic overtones.

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