Attack of the Clones
“Melancholia” is part of the six-part V-cinema series called “Series Kyofu Yawa” (“Series Horror Night Tale”) that includes Demon Hunting, The Last Coffin, Legend of Ogre, and In the Site. The series is a try-out for new talent, and director Takaaki Ezura is making his first feature here
The Kyofu Yawa series is extremely low-budget, filmed on digital video and staring mostly amateur cast. The level of filmmaking and action is about the same as a cheap TV movie, and no one should mistake this for a feature film. At 90 minutes “Melancholia” is a pretty short flick.
The story follows a group of friends who gather one last time at a park that will soon be developed into a housing complex. One of the girls is moving away, and the friends are saying goodbye. The girl moves in with her aunt and uncle, and things start to get weird from there. In her new house, she hears noises coming from a room that she is forbidden to enter. Meanwhile, her old friends are being visited and murdered by the same girl, who appears to be able to be in two places at once. Eventually, secrets start coming out and she learns that she is a twin clone, created by a mad scientist who wanted to do a study on human morality and raised two genetically identical people in different circumstances to see how they would come out.
I have seen a few of the Kyofu Yawa series, so I know what to expect and keep my expectations low. For what it is, “Melancholia” isn’t horrible. The cloning story adds some interest to a standard doppelganger plot, and the director and actors do their best in the confines of the budget. I have seen much, much better low-budget horror flicks, but I have also seen worse.
For the lead actresses, Kyofu Yawa likes to recruit from the world of Japanese bikini models, and making an appearance here is Hikaru Kawamura. Hikaru looks pretty, but her acting mainly seems to consist of grabbing her head and screaming. I don’t see a long movie career in front of her.
Also, anyone seeing “bikini model” should not get the wrong idea. There is no cheesecake and Hikaru remains fully dressed as does everyone else. Anyone expecting a gore-fest had better look elsewhere as well, as the killing happens mostly off-frame.