Judge Eric Profancik has some DVD Verdict flashbacks as he weighs the case for this collection.
Limited Edition—Now with more gore and bore!
This is going to be an atypical review for me, avoiding much blathering about nothing. The reason for that is because in this, the Danger After Dark Collection from TLA Releasing, all three movies contained herein have already received thorough reviews from other judges here on the site. (You can find links to those reviews on the right.) Additionally, after reading those other reviews, I find that my opinions pretty much line up with them, so there's not much else to say about the movies. What I will do here is elaborate on the small differences in the releases and a few thoughts I have about each movie.
This collection boasts a few new items to entice the fan of J-horror. It is possible some may be lulled into a double-dip purchase, but I don't think that is a wise choice. The DVDs are virtually identical, but the small differences might be enough for the rabid fan.
For Suicide Club, you will find the biggest difference from its original release to this set. This release now boasts an unrated cut of the film. Since this was my first viewing of the film, I had to research the additions; it comes down to a few minutes of additional gore—no subplots or lost scenes, just a bit more splat and hack. It's also stated that this film has received a new anamorphic transfer. My only comment on that is that the packaging is contradictory: the collection says Suicide Club is 1.85:1 anamorphic while the DVD says its 2.35:1 anamorphic. It turns out the collection is correct.
On Moon Child, it appears that there is absolutely no difference between the two releases. I think that makes it the "Bastard Child" instead.
With 2LDK (which refers to 2 bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen in Japanese apartment shorthand), it too was given a new anamorphic transfer. Also included on the DVD are new English subtitles.
As you can see, there's not much of a difference.
Suicide Club has a deeper meaning if you know something about Japan and its culture. Outside of sushi, videogames, and Iron Chef, my knowledge is limited. That's why I was impressed with Judge Adam Arseneau's review, as he not only dissected the gore but the relevance of the story. As I watched the movie, all I could wonder was what was the point? What is this, another anti-technology rant from Japan? Pushing that aside, I enjoyed the movie, with its gore and blood overload and semi-spooky tale. It had an '80s feel to me, though it was made this century. The new anamorphic print still had its weaknesses, but that's probably the source material itself. I found many instances where the picture was soft or grainy and the blacks were not precise, often blurring together. I say this movie, by itself, would be worth a rental.
Moon Child is the clear loser in this trilogy, and Judge Joel Pearce and I both agree this vampire/science-fiction hybrid sucks—in a bad way. There are some great ideas buried at the core of the film, but the film fails to grasp firmly on the ideas. It instead meanders and plods along, focusing on myriad complications ruining any momentum and accompanying interest. I have to say the movie even lulled me to sleep at one point. My main question is what kind of adult movies director Takahisa Zeze made before he made this film. His characters sure are fey, so are these the first gay vampires in cinematic history? The anamorphic print leaves something to be desired here, too, though not as bad as its predecessor in the collection. At times, the video is very soft, washing out any and all details. On the audio front, I had to turn the volume up "above average" to hear the dialogue. This DVD, on its own, is to be skipped.
2LDK reminds me of another film, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Is it Kill Bill? Maybe; but there's something else. I think I want to say Single White Female, but I've never seen that one—though it probably does fit. While Judge Bill Gibron enjoyed the movie a bit more than I—perhaps because of his knowledge of the filmmaker and the roots of the movie—there is something nonetheless intriguing and fascinating about this film. You know that the two female roommates are going to duke it out, but the anticipation of getting to that point both excites you and annoys you. It takes too long to get to that point—and it's only a 70-minute movie. The satire and social commentary go hand-in-hand well with the eventual violence. This DVD, the other new transfer in the collection, has its flaws, notably some light grain, a touch of dirt, and a little bit of artifacting. This DVD does have the best audio track of the three movies, with vibrant sound from its simple 2.0 mix. The bonus items, press conference (25 minutes), and "making of" (18 minutes) left me a bit bored. This one, too, is a definite rental.
Putting it all together, you have three interesting films. They are all J-horror, but they are different types of films. Two out of the three are quite good, but Moon Child is a lost cause. With minimal differences in the DVDs and the clunker movie in the middle, I can't give this one a buy recommendation. Since most places don't rent collections, that isn't a viable option.
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Scales of Justice, 2LDK
Perp Profile, 2LDK
Studio: TLA Releasing
Distinguishing Marks, 2LDK
• "The Making of 2LDK"
Scales of Justice, Suicide Club
Perp Profile, Suicide Club
Studio: TLA Releasing
Distinguishing Marks, Suicide Club
• Stills Gallery
Scales of Justice, Moon Child
Perp Profile, Moon Child
Studio: TLA Releasing
Distinguishing Marks, Moon Child
• Photo Gallery
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