Zombie Ass

Reviewed By Jay Seaver
Posted 07/27/12 15:19:06

"Yep, just what you'd expect."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

SCREENED AT THE 2012 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Once you have made the decision to see a movie by the name of "Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead", you've implicitly acknowledged that certain criteria, like good taste, are not real considerations. So, essentially, whether it is worth a rent comes down to the questions of whether the zombies and the ass deliver. The answers are yes, and yes - pretty literally.

The setup is horror movie basics - five teenagers on a trip to the boonies - Tak (Kentaro Kishi), his girlfriend Aya (Mayu Sugano), Aya's slutty friend Maki (Asana Mamoru), Aya's much more demure friend Megumi (Arisa Nakamura), and Naoi (Danny), a nerdy friend of Megumi's. This rural area is home to a mad scientist (Kentarou Shimzu), whose efforts to help his sickly daughter... Well, you know how it goes. Just sort of substitute intestinal parasites for the usual virus.

That seems to be roughly the amount of work director Noboru Iguchi and his three co-writers did on the screenplay - it's pretty much a basic framework on which to hang gross-out gags, fart jokes, and nudity. These things are all well and good, but seldom come at the most fitting of times or with the smoothest of executions, although Maki's declarations that her next fart is going to be really bad is a better use of Iguchi's tendency to have his characters say what they are doing or about to do than usual. Heroine Megumi is given an origin story that can come across as hilariously over the top or spectacularly ill-conceived, as you've got to be more clever with the "teenagers committing suicide over bullying" form of bad taste than with the "pretty girls breaking wind" form.

It still manages to work out pretty well, though, in large part because there's plenty of enthusiasm on display. Iguchi clearly has a blast doing this sort of thing, and while the acting is seldom great, it's almost always good enough, with the cast knowing when to amp it up. In particular, Arisa Nakamura is a lead who seems to be game for anything and shows just enough spark to ingratiate herself with the audience without being out-of-character cheerful, while Asana Mamoru gives quality bitch as Maki.

And, as usual, the effects and gore are fun. Yoshihiro Nishimura is well-practiced at this sort of thing and brings some of his best work for this zombie flick's, well, particular needs, while Iguchi does better than one might expect for a b-movie director at putting them into action. He can set up a crazy kill, sure, but he also stages a nice aerial duel once the rocket-like flatulence kicks in.

Yeah, you read that right. But, c'mon, you knew it was coming. It is "Zombie Ass", after all. And while Iguchi doesn't come near making a movie that defies the expectations that come with the title, he does as well as you can in making one that meets them.

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