Fitting neatly into the tradition of determinedly batshit Japanese horror is Dead Sushi, the film about what happens when sushi sprouts teeth and develops the ability to fly.
Keiko (Rina Takeda) wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a sushi chef, but the old man is having none of it. Dejected, she goes to work at an inn in the mountains that’s renowned for its sushi.
When a pharmaceutical company shows up, a bitter former employee arrives to turn their delicious speciality into bloodthirsty killers, and Keiko must prove her sushi-wrangling skills or be eaten alive.
Dead Sushi comes from director Noboru Iguchi, who previously brought us the blood-drenched The Machine Girl, Zombie Ass and several adult titles. What’s most impressive about Dead Sushi is that it manages to sustain its delirious tone for the bulk of its 90-minute running time.
As you can imagine, this is a deeply, deeply silly film that relies heavily on showing the audience ever-more bizarre scenarios and fish and rice based delicacies. If nothing else, as the giant sushi roll battleship lurches into view, you have to applaud the mad inventiveness of it.
But it’s very hit and miss, with much of the humour missing the mark (Iguchi finds farting hilarious, as those of us who’ve seen his ABCs Of Death segment ‘F Is For Fart’ will remember). While the former sushi chef with a fear of knives provides one or two genuine giggles, there’s also an uncomfortable level of leering at the naked female flesh on display, which Iguchi attempts to compensate for by giving the characters some self-aware commentary.
What your enjoyment of Dead Sushi will come down to is this: how long can you be entertained by the concept of flying killer sushi? It’s to Iguchi’s credit that the idea doesn’t feel too ludicrously stretched over its feature film length (well, it does a bit), and there are some genuinely fun surprises (the friendly egg sushi is a particular highlight), but after a while his attempts to raise the ante become ineffective.
There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes, and if the concept appeals to you then the film will have its moments, but even as a niche appeal oddity we wouldn’t recommend watching this before midnight.