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Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)

Cast: Kenji Sawada, Kenji Sawada, Keiko Matsuzaka, more...
Director: Takashi Miike, Takashi Miike
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Studio: Chimera Entertainment
Genre: Foreign, Horror, Japan, Asian Horror, Musicals
Running Time: 113 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

One of an amazing seven features directed in 2001 by Japan's prolific shock auteur Takashi Miike, The Happiness of the Katakuris is a gleefully morbid musical comedy about a family of oddballs who open an inn in the mountains. Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, none of their guests leave their rooms alive. In order to protect their business, the family resorts to burying the corpses in the backyard, but this only leads to a zombie problem. Meanwhile, the daughter falls in love with Richard, a mysterious British navy officer, who looks suspiciously Japanese but claims to be the nephew of Queen Elizabeth herself. Just when Richard bungles onto a clue that might lead him to uncover the string of disappearing guests, a nearby volcano begins rumbling to life. Propelled by musical numbers rife with movie and pop culture references, The Happiness of the Katakuris is a departure from Miike's famously gruesome thrillers. ~ Tom Vick, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Odd and ...just odd by rpmfla June 3, 2008 - 8:37 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
After a while, I began thinking that maybe the director started out making a straight horror film but noticed the actors and actresses were not very good and that maybe the script was weak, and then he noticed one of the crew humming a tune between takes, and he thought "Why not plug some musical numbers into this vaguely horrific story?".

People who like horror films will not like it because it is not horrific. People who like a good story will not enjoy it because there just isn't much of a plot. People who like musicals will not like it because the singing and dancing are awful.

I did like the animation sequences though, and that is what made me give it an average score. The rest of the film was just not my cup of tea.

The role of a lifetime for Sawada Kenji! by AHurley July 20, 2004 - 1:27 AM PDT
8 out of 9 members found this review helpful
Illuminated cherry blossoms glitter as they fall to the ground, introducing a ballad about the yearning to fall in love. A con man passing himself off as the nephew of Queen Elizabeth flies through the air (and animated floral galaxies) as he sings about his love for Shizue, whom he just met. And a claymation demon with wings hides in a bowl of soup until it pounces out and grabs the heart-shaped uvula of a pretty young woman? What? Yeah. It's a strange movie. But it's not scary or gross like other Miike movies, and it has some truly clever and delightful moments. There are a few fatal "incidents," but they have the gore level of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video (or perhaps a mild episode of "Celebrity Death Match") and the emotional impact of a saccharine Hallmark card. And if you know who Sawada Kenji is, please rent the movie! The artist formerly known as "Julie" added acting to his list of talents a few decades ago, and he manages to bring all of his gifts to his performance as the father who moves his family to the countryside, where they run a bed and breakfast qua death factory. I've seen him in tv shows, in concert, and on stage, and I've never seen Sawada this good. The karaoke-style music video in the middle of the movie has him pulling out old "Julie" moves and belting out choruses in a way that only he can do. Spellbound! I was completely spellbound. As for the story, there is something so simultaneously horrifying and tender about the way the Katakuri family supports one another that I'm not sure whether the film is an awful admonition to repress ("forget about bad things and they'll go away") or a celebration of tenderness in the face of adversity. But it doesn't really matter if, like me, you'll be happy enough just to see Sawada Kenji finally get the role he was born to play. Whether desperately pleading for his wife's life, sulking in defeat, or skipping through the fields in song, he is at his very best. Oh, and those of you who like freaky & morbid movies or generally quirky stuff will probably like the Katakuri experience even if you don't know Julie.

Utterly weird by starbuck July 2, 2004 - 8:10 PM PDT
8 out of 12 members found this review helpful
This is without a doubt a the absolute strangest film I have ever seen. Funny, morbid, gross, heart-warming, and bizzare. Not to be missed.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.10)
466 Votes
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Is this that British humor?
No, actually it's mostly Japanese film.
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