This serves as a perfect example of why remakes aren’t inherently evil. As much as I fear what kind of hideous insult to art that some untalented Hollywood hack would do with this story, it couldn’t be any more painful to watch than the original.
The movie begins with a young girl explaining that her little brother has always had strong premonitions of the future. One night, he goes into convulsions as he foresees her murder. His trance ends violently as blood shoots out of a stigmata on his neck, mirroring the fatal wound of a girl killed by the mysterious psycho from his vision. The boy then goes into a coma, after which we follow the sister’s quest to try and find the identity of the murderer before he finds her. A broken red cell phone, a girl’s blue cell phone, and a handful of half remembered clues that didn’t seem important at the time guide her to a small town out in the country where a very crazy man lives with his crippled daughter; keeping her a prisoner in his house and writing gruesome fairy tales which always involve teenaged girls being killed.
If any of the above fails to seem goofy or campy to you, you’re not alone. Oh boy, are you not alone. I talked to a bunch of people after the screening and have yet to find a single normal human being who doesn’t agree with me that the vibe you get from this thing is odder than Michael Jackson’s porn collection.
Look, here’s what I think happened: Directing a script is basically interpreting the material onto film. Thus the perfect screenplay is neutral towards itself and it’s the director job to make it tense or light, funny or dark, happy or sad. In this case, the interpretation is wrong.
…Or so I feel. Hey, maybe some people are going to enjoy the light goofy tone of the story. Maybe it works on a level that I’m not aware of. Or maybe I’m just not getting the joke because I’m a humorless bastard. You know what though? Maybe it’s just a fact that this movie is more bipolar than Pete Doherty on the horse, because I don’t think it’s me.
God’s Left Hand, The Devil’s Right Hand has a very smart and well written script but is directed by Shusuke Kaneko in an aloof and supremely uninterested style. The guy basically treats this whole film as a big joke while writer Yoshinori Matsugae doesn’t. Needless to say this makes the endeavor more than a little bizarre to watch. It’s like Ed Wood directing The Silence of The Lambs. There’s just no way I can fully explain to you how incredibly wonky this movie ends up looking. It leaves you with the weirdest feeling of anything I’ve seen since Neil Jordan’s “A Company of Wolves”. This is the kind of movie that John Waters might think would make a wonderful ABC Afterschool Special.
However, no matter what I might say about its lack of harmony, the direction is slick and professional despite the cringe inducing moments. As one watches the resulting train wreck we can only imagine what Takashi Miike or the Pang Brothers would have done with the movie.
I will say this though, for all my bitching GLH/DRH doesn’t suck and to a certain extent it’s even quite entertaining. It’s just that you definitely have to be in the right mood to find it enjoyable and I can’t possibly tell you what that mood is because I haven’t the vocabulary to name the sumbitch (Low brow Kafka? Grim Farelly Brothers? Leonard Cohen Aftertaste?) Let’s just hope that whatever it’s called, you have it when you rent this puppy. For your sake.