Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Down To Hell

Any fans of the film, Versus might be interested in knowing it was originally intended to be named Down To Hell 2. The interesting part of this is that most of us have probably never heard of Down To Hell and yet have heard of or seen Versus. Anyway, here are my thoughts of Down To Hell.

Tagline: There is no exit…

Plot: The film begins with an injured man running through a forest. He is set upon and brutally murdered by a group of armed thugs.

We are then taken to a street and see a man in a suit walking along the side of the road. A car appears and seems to be following the man. As he becomes paranoid and begins to pick up speed, the car speeds up as well and chases him down. The man is knocked over by the can and the group of thugs from the previous scene disembark to knock the man unconscious and abduct him.

The man is taken to the same forest we see the first man die in. The thugs explain that they intend to hunt the man down and kill him and tell him he will be given ten minutes before they begin chasing him. The man begs for them to show him mercy. One of the thugs responds by breaking his finger. Another starts the time for him to run. After a moment of standing and staring at his captors, the man bolts off into the woods while the thugs prepare their weapons for the hunt.

After the ten minutes run out, the thugs set out after their prey. The hunted man chooses to attempt to hide from the thugs, but is found relatively quickly when a partially buried body startles him. After one of the thugs catches up and finally kills the man, he relaxes for a moment only to find the body missing. This is where the zombie fun kicks in, as the victim returns to life to attack his murderers.

Thoughts: I rather liked this one. I initially felt this was a bit too similar to manhunting films out there, but the zombie bit threw a definite twist to it. It does not compare to Ryuhei Kitamura’s later films by any measure, but it’s still a decent watch. In a way, Down To Hell is like skipping supper and just having dessert. Much is left out in the way of a story line, but it is made up for in the action of the movie.

Fans looking for gut-munching zombie action need to look elsewhere. None of that will be found in this film. The one zombie in it is a superhuman killing machine with a really bad attitude. We never know exactly why the man returns to life, although some odd cloud movement and my watching Versus gives me the hint that it has something to do with being in the Forest of Resurrection. If that’s the case, I’m not sure why the other victim or victims did not return as zombies.

Those interested in a copy of this will probably have a difficult time finding it. I had to track mine down on Ebay. Fans of the subgenre and Ryuhei Kitamura's films should definitely seek this out.

Written and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura.

Starring: Masami Miyata, Yoshihiro Okamoto, Ryuhei Kitamura, Nubohiko Morino, Keishiro Shin, and Kohji Gotoh

Review by HatefulDisplay (Ron Clark)


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