Death Trance comes to us courtesy of the same Japanese school of glorious cinematic overkill that brought us Versus, Machine Girl, Meatball Machine and Tokyo Gore Police, and will no doubt bring us many more such examples of wretched excess in the future. Note that I’m not using “wretched excess” as a slam, but a description. It starts on a note of outlandish adventure, then ratchets the stakes up and up and up until the lid blows clean off and smacks you in the forehead.
I mentioned Versus and the rest of that list because Death Trance shares common DNA with all of them. It sports the star and fight coordinator of Versus, Tak Sakaguchi; one of the screenwriters (Yūdai Yamaguchi) also penned Versus, Machine and Versus director Ryuhei Kitamura’s deeply underrated Alive; the FX designer (Keita Amemiya) put together the grossness of Gore Police and Machine Girl; and so on. Most importantly it was, I believe, the first of many transpacific co-productions financed in part by John Sirabella of Media Blasters. It’s a happy set of collaborations all around. The movie looks and sounds terrific — Japanese filmmakers wring every yen out of what amount to fairly tiny budgets — and is great fun to watch in the sense that you can’t wait to see what bit of visceral absurdity will get thrown at us next. Read more