The Happiness of the Katakuris Review
The Sound of Music meets Dawn of the Dead?
Touted as a cross between those two disparate genres and arguably Takashi Miike's most audacious work, it blends zombies and musicals; live-action and clay-mation, to dubious acquired-taste effect.Undoubtedly film scholars could argue ad nauseum about the cultural commentary going on behind scenes of Katakuris, which pokes fun at a whole slew of film cliches and genres, from the obvious musicals and zombie movies to romantic comedies, family dramas and even murder mysteries. It's obviously all aimed squarely at the West, with Hollywood the prime target of Miike's unique brand of depraved-but-heartwarming sentiments.Unfortunately, despite these intentions, the end product still remains a rather impoverished affair, wearing its non-existent budget on its sleeve as it supplants a very basic story with a trio of distinct animated segments that save the budget from exceeding the price of a bucket of KFC. That almost nothing happens across the entire movie is also something which may surprise.
The playful tale of a run-down bed and breakfast - in desperate need of customers - having to contend with a seemingly inexplicable spate of deaths from each successive visitor, simply doesn't deliver on the potential of the extended opening animated sequence, which would suggest that far more interesting things could be happening later on. They do, in the last 5 minutes, with the rest of the movie almost devoted to padding what was essentially an intriguing little animated short into a feature runtime.
It's fair enough to regard the imaginative claymation segments as being the highlight of the piece, but when the cast breaking into song comes as a relief, you have to start to wonder about the effectiveness of Miike's endeavour.
With a clear cult following devoted to this 'classic', even those who think they are familiar with the eclectic menu that the director's film history offers should probably test the waters before adding this to their Miike collection.
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