Living Hell (2000) film thoughts… This film, also known as Iki-jigoku, has a fantastic Giallo style opening and sets the stage for a very dark, mysterious and demented story. Poor Yasu…he is a 22 year old man, bound to his wheelchair but really cannot remember what happened and nobody in his family ever really told him. One day, the older brother tells the sister that they are taking on some distant relatives who have fallen on hard times. After some resistance to the idea, the brother and father state that they are Japanese and their culture dictates you don’t abandon family. Yasu wishes they did, because once the older lady and young “looking like a corpse” 22 year old woman enter the home, all sorts of weird things happen. They don’t really speak and are usually standing or sitting right next to each other the whole time. The fun really begins every time the family leaves the house and Yasu alone. The two guests torture Yasu in gruesome and horrific ways. One particular piece of nastiness has a taser to the genital area….multiple times. There is a side plot where a journalist has been following a murder from a year before and wants to do a story on it. Is it the same two people that are tormenting poor Yasu? Hmmm…

Living Hell is an excellent film on all levels. The pacing, writing, acting (especially the two guests who have to be motionless for long scenes) are great and the insane nature of the film will keep you interested. I always wanted to know what happened next. It plays with homages to older European films with it’s cinematography and while graphic in nature, much of the torture is not shown but you know by Yasu’s screaming what the heck is going on. It’s nasty business. You will be also picking out some American films it’s cribbing from and is handled deftly.

There really is a whole bunch more going on here, so I will leave you to track this one down for yourself. A high recommend from the The Fiend, Living Hell is just that.


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