Violator - Violator(DVD) [ Wild Eye Releasing - 2022]
Violator (aka Baiorêtâ) is a wonky blend of suicidal focused drama, dark comedy and lo-fi splatter. This Japanese production is certainly an often unbalancing and odd affair, though some of the pacing is out and the splatter elements don’t quite reach the levels one would have hoped. But it’s certainly worth a look if you like the idea of a suicidal dark comedy lined with splatter. Here from the guys at Wild Eye Releasing is a region free DVD release of the film.
Violator was made in the year 2018- it was directed & written by Jun'ichi Yamamoto. In all he’s got thirteen credits to his name- going from the splatter lined cyberpunk horror-comedy of Meatball Machine(1999), onto animated manga action-adventure JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (2007), and erotic fantasy comedy The Adventure of Magical Michiko(2018).
The film focuses on a young woman looking for her baby sister- who has gotten wrapped up in a suicide cult. Her search leads her to a strange and isolated village- where the cult is hauled in a large abandoned, windows covered in newspaper building. The cult is full of quirky characters- there’s a flirty and high heel strutting woman, a tubby and bumbling constantly filming with his old VHS cameraman, a tall and sullen goth man, a ranting ‘n’ shouting teenage boy and a few others.
The villages, as you’d imagine aren’t too keen on the cult setting up in their village- initially just turning up and glaring at the members in a rather intense manner. Then at one point, a switch is flicked- and they start suddenly attacking and killing the cult members. The first attack is very jarring and surprising, as the flirty woman is set upon in the forest- she is punched, then brutally beaten to death. As the village's kill spree unfolds the shouty teen virgin gets a nasty through the head surprise as he's getting it on with a woman, and of course a few more kills.
The film's tone is a decidedly weird blend of flat drama, dark comedy tropes, and moments of off-kilter character interaction- which is often soundtrack by the bizarre score- which moves from droning pitch shift organ music, sinister and avant pop, and tilted death metal meets J pop. The splatter elements, when they appear are lo-fi and largely somewhat fleeting- and I got quite a Herschell Gordon Lewis vibe from them, though it’s all carried out in a very cold and often robotic manner, which adds in an extra edge of unease/ disquiet to proceedings
The film runs at around the fairly short for a feature film one hour and twelve minutes- and at points, the pacing is off/ drifting, so it certainly feels longer than it should do. The acting is passable for this type of thing, with a few memorable characters here. There’s no doubt with its plot, and execution Yamamoto is trying to do something a little different/ odd within the horror template- and he does manage this, it’s just a pity that a few issues let it down from becoming a complete success.
This DVD release is a bare-bones affair- with just the film and trailer on the disc. As this is a recent film, the print looks good/ fine- though clearly low budget.
I was amazed when researching the film for this review, that seemingly no one else (even on IMDB) had commented on/ reviewed Violator. As though it has its issues/ problems, it has its worth, and if you enjoy a mix of troubling subject matter with dark humour and splatter Violator will appeal.Roger Batty