I don’t keep up with Japanese horror as much as I used to. I’ve always enjoyed it for not only the weird elaborate stories but for the massive amounts of blood and guts you sometimes find in them. Unfortunately for a while the main style to come out from their was Ghost films, which I am not a big fan of, so I started to view less and less. Now when something different pops up I am always curious to see it. So when I heard Synapse was going to release Undertaker, a zombie virus film, I knew I wanted to see it.
Undertaker is all about a kid named Ryouichi who works for an Undertaker who specializes in zombies. See a virus has hit Japan and infected hundreds of thousands of people turning them into flesh eating zombies. The Government is trying to not only contain the situation but round up the uninfected and secure them in camps. Ryouichi is one of these kids taken as his mom has turned into a zombie. He is being transported with his neighbor, a girl he likes when she becomes infected and goes after the transport driver. The bus crashes and Ryouichi manages to escape from the girl who is now in full blown zombie mode. He wanders around until he eventually meets an Undertaker, who gives him a job.
Ryouichi now gets to carry around a special spike shovel and is assigned the task of hunting down certain zombies. See family members pay this Undertaker to find their loved one who is now a zombie and kill it and give it its proper rest. Ryouichi is tasked with wandering the streets looking for said zombie so he can collect a piece of the zombie to show the family that they did do their assigned task. The only problem is Ryouichi is still tormented by not only the death of his own family, but the girl who turned on the transport leaving him to wander around in despair all day.
Slower paced than a standard zombie film from Japan, but just as bloody this almost has a sort of “Art House” feel to it. Using slow camera pans an angles the film captures a real bleak future (I think in the future) that resembles a commercial wasteland. Using a slow almost numbing score to further the despair the film moves at an almost methodical pace. Now that’s not to say its slow. Far from it, in fact its very short. The film only clocks in at around 63min. but a good 40min of that is a blood soaked mess of violence.
In Japanese with English Subtitles Synapse has done a great job on this transfer. The world is a cloudy grey and the blood that flows is a bright bright red and this transfer really shows it off. The audio is fantastic and the score sounds great in surround sound. Its quiet an amazing job seeing how well this little film actually looks. Its also got some special features as well.
Farewell to the Precious: The Making of UNDERTAKER.
•On Your Back – Original Short Film.
•Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery.
This is a really good splatter fest with a heart and definitely one worth checking out. Fans of gore, zombies, and even the art house style will really enjoy this one. Pick it up today.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!