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By Steve Anderson | July 8, 2007

Any time you can look on your shelves and find a movie from Psycho Films, it’s really got to give you pause. Okay, I’m overstating. “The Last Supper” actually comes to us from Saiko Films, which is merely a sound-alike, but still, a pretty nifty one at that.

And what Saiko Films brings our way is a story that should be shockingly derivative–namely, a cannibalistic doctor. Yes, I know, there’s lots of eye-rolling and catcalls that feature dear old Hannibal Lecter at this point but don’t let that scare you off. Yes, it’s about a Japanese doctor who turns cannibal. But this time around, it’s a plastic surgeon! And if you think about it, just for a minute, how he gets started down the road to cannibalism will make so much sense it’s unsettling, even if it is pretty disgusting when you get to the end of it.

Yes, “disgusting” will be the word of the day with “The Last Supper” in your DVD player–lots of blood, squishy sounds, body parts, and assorted gooshy whatnot flying around every few minutes features heavily into the film. You can’t get around it. It’s a movie about a plastic surgeon turned cannibal. Of course bodies are going to be rendered into cold cuts and flank steak with all the precision of a doctor in his prime!

But–and this is where “The Last Supper” parts company with all the things that’ll make your eyes roll–it’s the how that will keep your attention. Japanese movies have one fairly common element running through them: patience. Subtlety. And coming from a movie about cannibal doctors, subtlety is the last thing you’d expect to see. And yet, it’s here! Check out the cool nonchalance as our doctor rebuffs a camera crew out at his house to film him for a talk show. You never saw HANNIBAL do interviews! You never saw Hannibal store his choice cuts mere feet from where he slept at night either, but that’s another crucial difference. Our Japanese Lecter-ite has a development cycle, growing into cannibalism. Lecter, meanwhile, just started carving faces one day and eating the results with wild mushrooms because someone made fun of his aunt.

Even better, “The Last Supper” trots out some of the old Wendigo parallels, much the same way as “Ravenous,” implying that by eating people meat you gain their strength. The Japanese doctor here goes from ham-handed dork getting shot down by the ladies and a job given to him as a favor to master surgical chick-magnet getting fawned over on Japanese television all because he was into the pre-processed “Soylent Green.”

It doesn’t stop there! People throughout the movie will come to crave our doctor’s special cuisine, wolfing it down at any opportunity, including an absolutely brutal climax at the ending wedding scene. Nobody knows exactly what it is they’re eating, but everyone who gets a piece loves it. And I mean LOVES it–they’re oohing and aahing and making various other noises of gastric bliss that suggest nothing so much as they’re having a giant meatgasm right in front of us.

The special features, meanwhile, are pretty slim, offering us Japanese and English audio–avoid the English audio; the dub is just really awful. Stick with the Japanese audio. Why? Because there will also be English subtitles, and Spanish ones besides. Plus, we get trailers for “Kibakichi” and “Kibakichi 2.”

All in all, “The Last Supper” is a sweet little Japanese entree fresh and hot on our plates. Maybe not as good as some, but plenty filling, and plenty satisfying.

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