ENTER THE DEN OF SIN: J-HORRIBLE Image

Overall, reaction was mixed but generally favorable. We had our traditional break wherein three of our group left, then on with the show. Because “Infection” was a screener, there was no way to skip the trailers, and boy there were some doozies: Alone in the Dark which prompted a request for a Uwe Boll night (only on a night when no one needed to get up for work the next day so we could properly drink ourselves into oblivion), and some Nicolette Sheridan travesty that actually referenced “Desperate Housewives”, without actually saying the name which I am assuming they did for copyright reasons. There were cheers for the Japanese fanfare and people were encouraged by the cool title sequence. Then the movie started.

It seemed to be taking itself fairly seriously, with most of the first half hour devoted to establishing the fact that this was the worst hospital in all of Japan. The doctors hadn’t been paid in months, they were almost out of basic supplies and the doctors and nurses that populated the place were all incompetent in some way, including the newest nurse who had made a pin-cushion out of a coma victim through her ineptitude with a syringe. In response to the question of “what should we do?” my husband yelled out a predictable: “Burn the place down!”

Not too surprisingly, the good doctors and nurses manage to kill the coma guy through their incompetence and then instead of owning up to it, which would have been understandable considering the conditions they were working under, they choose to cover it up. Graeme was becoming impatient. “More melting people, less E.R.” he demanded. Nick wondered if the flash cuts of a swing were supposed to be scary. Brendan noted that the violin music meant that it was supposed to be. Damon instructed the medical staff to “do something really stupid”.

Brendan meanwhile was concerned with the fact that the film contained “really bad science”. Graeme was disappointed by the “pretty lame” gore. No one could believe what a “terrible, horrible” place the hospital was, and all of the people inside it. This seemed like a rather obvious observation at the time, but in retrospect it was an important clue since horror is generally more successful if there is someone the audience can identify with. There wasn’t a single idiot in the place we could give two craps about and there was absolutely no suspense being built. We started to make fun of the badly telegraphed “scares”.

There were a few cool scenes, like the mean nurse sticking her hand into a box of “sharps” and then plunging it into boiling water, but it still wasn’t enough to stop the griping. Corinne had tuned out all together and quietly played on her Nintendo DS. Joe noted that the preview was scarier. Nick complained that he would rather be watching “Predator 2”.

Then all of a sudden things went totally kablooie. Was it a disease? Was it a curse? Was it real or was it a dream? Or was it a dream of reality? Even if it didn’t make any sense, the Peanut Gallery was still enjoying the sudden action. It was like the end of an “Outer Limits” episode, except that it just kept going. There was “Dr. Tongue’s 3-D House of Horrors” style sound effects & “because they can” music video effects. And then, with no real warning, it ended and we were subjected to awesomely terrible BLARING J-pop.

Rumblings from the Peanut Gallery: It could have been the heat, or the unusually large crowd, but people were very chatty all night long. There were multiple non- film related digressions, including conversations about the Warren Ellis run on “Stormwatch”, and a proposal for a “Star Wars” TV series called “Star Wars 90210 – The Adventures of Young Luke”. However, special credit should go to Corinne for making the first Canadian medical system joke during “Infection”, and for coining perhaps the best character nickname to date when she dismissively referred to the horror starlet’s fiancé as “Hamtaro the boyfriend”. Despite knocking it for the entire running time, most people agreed that “Ju-On 2” did have its share of spooky moments. “Infection”, on the other hand, received comparisons to “Black Devil Doll from Hell”, which, although it sounds cool, is probably one of the worst movies I have ever sat through.

Mariko McDonald and her husband host a weekly film night in their apartment, affectionately known as the Den of Sin. It’s kinda like evil film school. Monthly screening schedules are available at http:filmgurlland.blogspot.com and if you happen to live in the Vancouver, BC area and are interested in catching a screening please drop her a line at filmgurl79@hotmail dot com. Suggestions, hate mail and cute pictures of cats also accepted.

And of course you can always offer up some juicy Back Talk>>>

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