Living Hell (2000) Review
Written by: BlackDeathDamien
In the world of japanese and asian horror movies, there are certain ones that become one of those rare gems. Ones that puts those types of movies on the map. If you look at all the great asian and japanese horror movies, like Ringu, Ju-On, and Audition, there is another one that ranks right up there to those movies. This movie is called 'Living Hell.' This movie is considered the Japanese version to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but minus chainsaws. This movie has the same shock value as Tobe Hooper had put into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Yasu is a teenager confined to a wheelchair. When his father consents to take in Yasu's grandmother and her granddaughter, both of whom are experiencing tragic times, no one realizes quite what they're getting into. The grandmother and the young girl are revealed to be truly cruel sadists, intent on subjecting trapped Yasu to the most violent treatment imaginable while the rest of his family is not around. But even as their crimes against him get increasingly disgusting, his family doesn't believe his stories. This energetic, low-budget horror entry piles on gore and very black comedy in equal measure. Full of scrappy but effective gore effects, LIVING HELL is an energetic slice of J-horror guaranteed to please hard core genre fans. Labeled "The Japanese Chainsaw Massacre" (minus the chainsaws) by fans, director Shugo Fujii has fashioned a mysterious horror film with stylish sequences that pay homage to directors Brian De Palma and Alfred Hitchcock.
All the performances by all the actors and actresses are right up to par with those who gave those in TCM, Ringu, and Ju-On. When it came to the specific family all had that believeable not right in the head moments. Every one of them had pure joyness when it came to torturing their victims. If you thought Leatherface and the one girl from Audition, enjoyed their handy work, this specific family knew exactly what they were doing and enjoyed every second of it. With the people who played as the dysfunctional family, they were chosen perfectly for the parts. Not only did each actress and actor in the movie proved to be worthy of their specific role in the movie, but also they made their performance believeable that you could literally feel what each victim was going through.
With this low budget horror film, there was no special fx used in this. But the only things that were used was the different props used by the one family to torture and kill their victims. From stun guns to bugs to hair dryers, there are many different ways to torture one in a horrific painful way that was used in this movie. So not all horror movies have to use special fx to give that shock value. If used properly and the storyline, the props can make it up, which japanese and asian horror movies always use perfectly to have that right feel that goes into each of their movies.
As Shugo Fujii chosen to be the director to this movie, he was the right one to do this movie. With the right actor and actress chosen, he knew exactly he had gotten the right people for the job. The specific way and direction Fujii wanted to create that right feeling to give the audience the way he invisioned this movie, he wanted to capture it scene for scene how he saw it through his eyes. Shugo Fujii is right up there with the great Takashi Miike, who created Audition.
When it comes to the camera angles and movements used in this movie, each one of them didn't have that low budget feel. All the techniques used to create this movie, didn't have one single flaw to it. Like all japanese and asian horror movies, this is another one that didn't have that low budget feel. With the slow motion and cut scenes used, each one of them were used perfectly. At times within the movie, when a specific scene was about to happen, you didn't know what was going to happen until the last second and didn't see what happened to some of the victims being tortured thanks to the camera work, which gives that great horror movie feel.
When it comes to the sounds fx, they come in perfectly when each of the family member is using a specific way to torture one of many people. You really feel and hear what is happening to each victim which makes it and sounds real. Not one single one doesn't sound fake at all.
With all the music used, it mainly comes to when the family shows up and the people who are being tortured and killed. The entire soundtrack is just right for the movie.
When it's all said and done, if you are trying to look for another one of those WTF moments and sheer terror and torture, I highly recommend this movie. If you take the dysunctional families: The Hewitts and The Firefly Family, you get this family. With the family in this movie, if you came across them, you wouldn't want to be left alone with them. This is a must see and own to all japanese and asian horror movie fans. If you come across this movie, do not pass it up at all.