Over Your Dead Body (Kuime) (2014)

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Released 26-Aug-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 4
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 90:16 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Takashi Miike
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Ebizo Ichikawa
Ko Shibasaki
Miho Nakanishi
Hideaki Ito
Maiko



Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Koji Endo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     A present day Kabuki troupe are rehearsing the two hundred year old play Yotsuya Kwaidan, a classic ghost story about lust, greed, murder, ghosts and vengeance. In that play unemployed samurai Iemon murders Iwa’s father so he can marry her. Two years later, with a young son and still unemployed, Iemon receives a proposition from wealthy Mr Ito; join the family and marry his granddaughter Ume. Ito is also prepared to take steps to help rid Ieman of Iwa and the baby. In Over Your Dead Body (original Japanese title Kuime) this story gradually unfolds during the play’s rehearsals, with Kosuke (Ebizo Ichikawa) in the role of Iemon and his lover, the well-known actress Miyuki (Ko Shibasaki) who is trying to get pregnant, in the role of Iwa. But Kosuke is also sleeping with Rio (Miho Nakanishi), who plays Ume and wants to marry Kosuke, so life is imitating art. But in the real world it is Miyuki who may have the final vengeance.

     Scenes from these two worlds are intercut by prolific cult director Takashi Miike, who currently has 98 titles as director listed on the IMDb. His films are frequently confronting, often violent, but always unusual and include Audition (1999), Ichi the Killer (2001), Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) and 13 Assassins (2010), although Miike does have his more light-hearted moments such as Yatterman (2009) or Ace Attorney (2012). He may be prolific and fast-moving, directing four or five feature films a year, but there is nothing cheap or shoddy about his films. Over Your Dead Body is a return by Miike to horror mode.

     Over Your Dead Body is a mesmerising, unsettling experience. The scenes in the Kabuki theatre are wonderfully staged and shot by cinematographer Nobuyasu Kita; sometimes we see only the actors in performance, other times the director and other cast and crew within the theatre or the moving sets, intercut with scenes from “real” life. As the film progresses, the lines become increasingly blurred, with dialogue and sequences from the play recurring in the modern world; much of the film is also very dark and with the stylised performances it becomes increasingly difficult to know if we are in the play, real life or the delusions of a mad and vengeful mind. Or are supernatural forces at play here?

     Over Your Dead Body, despite the title, has only a small body count and for much of its running time it is also not bloody or gory. But this is a horror film from a master director but when those scenes occur they are visceral and certainly have an impact; none are in the least gratuitous, Miike is just too good a filmmaker for that, and Over Your Dead Body is as good an exercise for the mind as an out and out horror story. This is certainly a film I will need to watch again to sort out what just happened!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Over Your Dead Body is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the original theatrical ratio of 2.35;1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a very dark film, with many sequences in the darkened theatre, at night or in a blacked out house. Blacks are inky and solid but much of the shadow detail is deliberately indistinct, and occasionally the screen is totally dark. This is what was intended, so one cannot blame the DVD authoring. Close-ups are crisp and detailed, colours vary from dull to vibrant reds and yellows, brightness and contrast were consistent, skin tones natural.

     I did not see any marks or artefacts.

    The English subtitles are in a clear yellow font and are error free.

     The layer chance was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     Much of the film is a rehearsal in a theatre with performers on stage, so the audio is very front oriented. This is also a film with a number of silences. Dialogue was centred and easy to hear and most effects were subtle and from the front, although the rears were used selectively for voices off stage, footsteps and doors opening and closing. The sub-woofer was mostly silent but added bass and rumbles to horror reveals and moments.

     The score by Koji Endo was low key, using traditional instruments such as the Shakuhachi during the play segments. Elsewhere it provided an eerie background that was very effective.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:40)

More from Eastern Eye

     Trailers for Shield of Straw (1:52), Dead Sushi (2:00), Tokyo Tribe (1:48) and Ace Attorney (1:36).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There is currently not a Region 1 US or Region 2 UK release of Over Your Dead Body. There is a Region 2 Japanese Special Edition, with making of, interviews, stage events and a trailer, and a normal edition, but neither has English subtitles. The Region 3 HK release has English and Traditional Chinese subtitles, but no extras. Buy local, unless you can understand Japanese.

Summary

     Over Your Dead Body is cult director Takashi Miike in fine form; an intriguing, unsettling and beautifully shot supernatural ghost story where life imitates art, or is it the other way round? Fans of the director or the genre should not hesitate.

     The DVD has the video and audio the filmmaker intended. Trailers are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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