FILM REVIEW: Josh's review of TOKYO STAY HOME MASSACRE
Directed by: Kenta Osaka and Hirohito Takimoto.
Starring: Diana G. Will Harrell and Alex Derycz.
Is there a lot to say about Tokyo Stay Home Massacre? I'll let you decide. After opening with a post-murder ritual where some hooded figures are kneeling around a pair of human bodies, the scene quickly cuts to three Americans taking a wild cab ride through the streets of Tokyo. The three Americans, Sarah (Diana G.) Spencer (Harrell), and John (Derycz), respectively, we learn are vloggers who have come to Japan to document their trip for their online channel. You see, our visitors, in their efforts to get a "taste of Japan" have arrived following their response to an ad from a Japanese family looking for temporary guests to stay in their home. Therefore upon arriving at their destination, the trio is greeted enthusiastically by a man we only know as 'The Father'. However, despite the warm reception provided by this character, the trio's interactions with the rest of the family are noticeably chilly.
It is following this setup of our players & their surroundings that the film gets rather confusing...How you ask? Well, when a member of trio decides to venture around the Japanese house to draw viewers to their channel, it's never explained why he makes this choice, as there are numerous pictures and videos online about Japanese houses and architecture to supplant his interest. Additionally, he could easily request a tour from his enthusiastic host without ruffling the feathers of his family.
It is of course in these efforts, that the trio find themselves at odds with the family after entering a forbidden room. From here, the family captures the trio and begins to torture each of them before killing them.
Aside from the choices made by the trio in this film, writer/directors, Osaka and Takimoto's, use of language barriers as a means to create suspense are both a blessing and a curse to the film. While on one hand it provides a sense of dread for the viewer as they vicariously experience the horrors of being tortured by this family they are staying with, it unfortunately also cheats the viewer from understanding the family's motives and their respective relationships to each other. For example, could you imagine in the first half of the film the choice to not include subtitles to build suspense, but later having subtitles provided to learn more about this family intentions? For instance, did the family truly have sinister intentions or was it an unfortunate misunderstanding? Again, none of this is explained, which leaves a plethora of missed opportunities that this film could have examined.
With all of this in mind, there were other problems as well, like unnecessary subplots that are just there and don't add anything to our characters' motivations at all.
Overall grade: F