Review: ‘Marronnier’

A collaboration between puppeteer-turned-first-time-feature helmer Hideyuki Kobayashi and cult Nippon comics artist Junji Ito, "Marronnier" is a "doll-horror movie" that's a whole lot more fun in theory than in painfully amateurish execution. Slipshod on every level, pic shows signs of tongue-in-cheek intent, with a few enterprisingly grotesque ideas.

A collaboration between puppeteer-turned-first-time-feature helmer Hideyuki Kobayashi and cult Nippon comics artist Junji Ito, “Marronnier” is a “doll-horror movie” that’s a whole lot more fun in theory than in painfully amateurish execution. Slipshod on every level, pic shows signs of tongue-in-cheek intent, with a few enterprisingly grotesque ideas. But general ineptitude negates potential, rendering even slim runtime a long slog. Offshore, only diehard pursuers of horror and manga esoterica need apply.

Barely coherent screenplay centers on Marino (Mayu), a young woman who collects dolls. Her favorite was designed by a recluse with a machine that turns real people into wax doll material. His demented assistant Numai (Hiroto Inagaki) kidnaps girls for this nefarious purpose, eventually killing mentor in order to terrorize Marino and her friends full-time. Attenuated climax takes place in the designer’s underground lair, as Numai offs various captives and would-be rescuers. Pic’s jumble of disjointed sequences and primitive gore might be excused as attempted surrealism, but effect is so hapless one can’t be sure just what was intended. Perfs are weak, staging bad, editing worse, vid lensing and production values low-level TV; even puppetry work is unimpressive.

Marronnier

Japan

Production

A Koganemushi Scarabee production. Produced by Hideyuki Kobayashi, Junji Ito. Directed, written, edited by Hideyuki Kobayashi, based on comic book art by Junji Ito.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Kobayashi; music, Hiizu Taguchi, Tamako Yoshinaga, Kobayashi. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival, April 27, 2004. Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Mayu, Misao Inagaki, Hiroto Nakayama, Haruna Hoshino, Miyako Koga, Hime, Tetsuya Shibata.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading