This movie is, well, like somewhat of a bad acid trip. Though I don’t know personally, I can only imagine it might bear similarity to this film. We have the jittery camera action, which at some points can nearly give you motion sickness. It is almost all filmed in black and white. There is virtually no dialogue, with the exception of a narrator, a nurse verbally expressing her thoughts offscreen, and an interview with a witness scattered intermittently throughout. And how many times can we watch snow falling?! In fact, much of this film is spent watching snow falling, blood oozing, records spinning, or differing organisms scurrying around under a microscope lens. The music is ridiculous and almost comical at times, and some of it seemed to come straight out of a bad techno party. The acting is at its worst terrible and at its best mediocre. Did I mention it is four and a half hours long?

That said, I would be remiss not to mention that some of these scenes in the film are rather gruesome (cockroach, enough said), but most are clearly, obviously, painstakingly FAKE. It is also necessary to mention that these reenactments, in pseudo-documentary format (gritty, shaking camera and all), are based on true events that occurred at Japanese Unit 731 from the 1930s through to about 1945. They conducted inhumane, horrific experiments on the prisoners that have gone down in history as some of the worst atrocities man can inflict on man, including biological and chemical warfare. Some of the scenes portrayed are seemingly medically inaccurate and are no doubt used for shock value, to enhance the already horrendous nature of what actually occurred. One fictional aspect was that two of those involved in these diabolical “experiments” felt a modicum of sympathy for these unfortunate souls, but of course, they were “only following orders” (don’t get me started on that bullshit). I feel that the level of gore mixed with the awful special effects did somewhat of a disservice to those victims who truly deserve respect and remembrance for the brutality they endured. I am highly ambivalent about this film, leaning somewhere between pure genius and utter stupidity and disrespect. The cheesy effects went so far past believable that I don’t know how any gullible person could think this is actually real. The stories are based in fact, the movie’s images themselves are not. Come to think of it, the worse the effects got, and how far beyond they went actually detracted from the fact that we are supposed to be feeling sorry for these victims. We do in real life, of course, but in this long-winded portrayal, you are almost sitting there, sarcastically saying, “Oh, come on…geez….ahh, more snow, great..”.

Several of the scenes are utterly implausible, and like I said, so far beyond fake it is almost amusing. I do believe some of the archival footage and a few photo stills may be real, but in other instances, it’s like watching something out of a haunted house. However, it also finds some way to grab your attention in certain parts, and makes you really depressed. These are people. People doing these things to other people. How can we wrap our brains around this madness? It more serves as a gross-out movie more than one that could provoke any real emotion, at least for the majority of it. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this movie, as I feel it does virtually little to nothing to promote the cause of these tragic victims, their pain, and their place in history, and I almost found it a little insulting. It is slightly uncomfortable in the more quiet sequences, but once the violence kicks in, you remember it’s all fake. We need to remember the victims of wartime atrocities, not exploit them. But if you want to give it a go, be my guest! You might fall asleep for the first hour or so, and its a long ride, so it’d be best to put on a pot of coffee.

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About Aloha Mister Hand

28, horror-loving chick, lover of animals, movies, and her boyfriend.

12 responses »

  1. theipc says:

    This sounds awful all the way around… I think I’ll pass on this one : )

    • LOL, smart move definitely. It’s not the controversial film everyone made it out to be. It was difficult in a few places (namely teeth pulling and cockroaches going in places they shouldn’t) but the rest is pretty dull. Some of it even reminds me of claymation. 🙂

  2. rwhyan says:

    Wow, ya this film definitely sounds like a tough one to sit through!

  3. Thanks for the bullet dodged and sorry you had to set through it to tell us all the story. Ii thought you gave a really clear picture of a really bad picture and that’s not easy. Good Review. Especially after the conversations we have been having! Your head is just about where my head is with movies so I will definitely take your word and stay far far away

    jdcwitherton.com

  4. I actually found this film offensive & for something to offend me it must be doing something! Passing itself off as a self important mockumentary was in poor taste to the 1’000s who suffered at the hands of Unit 731 Plus endless shots of falling snow bored my arse off! If you haven’t seen it Men Behind The Sun is a much better & no less grim film about Unit 731 & isn’t four hours long.

    • Thanks for the comment! You mean you found the material offensive? Or the insult to the true story? I was upset by the disrespect of the victims, but the imagery was just ridiculous. As a female who knows a tampon cannot get lost in your body, I highly doubt that a cockroach can, unless it somehow gnaws its way through, which I highly doubt. Why wouldn’t it just crawl back out the same way? LOL It’s so far beyond, I just couldn’t get anything but exploitation of the truth. Appreciate the comment! What did you find offense besides the movie in general? 🙂

  5. I found the film to be offensive due to the way it exploited real victims. When dealing with true events I believe care must be taken. There have been a lot of exploitive movies based around real genocide, films like Men Behind The Sun, The Gestapo’s Last Orgy & The Beast In Heat to name but a few. While they used the backdrop of real atrocities they were works of fiction. This movie tried to pass itself off as a pseudo-documentary, yet exploited & exageratted what actually happened. That to me was in poor taste & showed a lack of humanity being there are families of those tortured still alive with painfully fresh memories.

    • I absolutely agree with you! With the amount of people on the web who are idiots and believe this is a snuff film, it is important that it is known that it isn’t real. You’re right, it is so exaggerated, they do exploit the victims by making it gore for gore’s sake. Not to mention, 4 1/2 hours is a bit excessive.

  6. & snow! My god the snow!!! 🙂

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