Nightmare Detective

Listen to Zach and Bill’s podcast review at Movie Bonfire

Usually when Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto sets out to make a film, viewers can prepare themselves for a walk on the gory side. With acting credits like Ichi the Killer, a hardcore examination of violence and gore not seen this side of David Cronenberg, and a release on the (prestigious doesn’t quite seem the right word here, does it?) Dimension Extreme label, Tsukamoto’s new film – a dreamland slasher along the lines of Nightmare on Elm Street – seems to be right up the alley of any gore fan.

What’s most interesting about the film, aside from Tsukamoto’s choice to play the violent killer himself, is the film’s overall lack of gore. That’s not to say that this is a family-friendly film, but in Nightmare Detective, Tsukamoto opts for a more imaginative, rather than visceral, type of horror. As the unseen killer rushes his victims, most of the violence is captured from a shaky-cam POV style familiar to any fan of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead. After years of showing us the money shots, Tsukamoto here asks us to imagine for ourselves what kind of beastly creature is committing these murders.

Along for the ride are a squadron of aged police officers, joined by rookie cop Keiko Kirishima (played by screen newcomer and Japanese pop star Hitomi). As the officers attempt to decide whether a glut of apparent suicides are more than they seem, Keiko realizes that they’ll need more than clues to track this killer down. With this realization she calls in the assistance of a young man with the power to infiltrate people’s dreams. This guy, depressed and suicidal himself, is known as (surprise) the Nightmare Detective. From here on out it’s a lot like Paprika meets Nightmare on Elm Street 3 as the Nightmare Detective seeks to hunt down the villain (nicknamed “zero” as 0 is always the last number victims call from their cellphones).

There’s not much new material being covered here, and though the camera work is relatively suspenseful – glimpses of the killer are far more frightening than the killer himself – there’s a general lack of energy emanating off the screen. Whether Tsukamoto works better when using more gore is up for discussion, but Nightmare Detective falls a little short of his previous works. Just remember not to get too tired while watching the film: if you fall asleep you might not wake up.

Zach’s Rating: B-
Perfect For: Diehard Shinya Tukamoto fans
Stay Away if: You like your unrated gory horror to earn it’s Unrated-ness
Watch For: The second victim’s death scene

To purchase Nightmare Detective (Unrated), visit Amazon
For more reviews by Zach Freeman, visit HubPages

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