5.2/10
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2 user 5 critic

Suicide Dolls (1999)

Satsu satsu (ayame) (original title)
A woman shoots herself. A woman hangs herself. A woman commits harakiri. Were they the victims of "Suicide Dolls", or were they themselves the dolls?

Director:

Tamakichi Anaru
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Cast

Credited cast:
Shino Setsuna Shino Setsuna ... Third Suicide Doll / Woman who commits harakiri (segment "Kyôen")
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Storyline

A woman shoots herself. A woman hangs herself. A woman commits harakiri. Were they the victims of "Suicide Dolls", or were they themselves the dolls?

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Genres:

Horror

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Is comprised of three stories: "Tenchuu", "Sabaki", and "Kyôen". See more »

Connections

Edited into Making of 'Suicide Dolls' (1999) See more »

User Reviews

 
Decision time....
5 July 2005 | by drstevejonesSee all my reviews

This is a difficult movie to discuss. It is very cheaply made. In fact, it looks like it's been shot on the type of standard tape-based video camera that was de rigueur in the last days of the 20th Century. Direction and cinematography are null affairs here, but that serves to create an uncomfortable, realistic atmosphere. I'm yet to find a subtitled version of the film, I am also shut out of the dialogue. Granted, this makes the film more challenging for those of us who are language-impaired. However, these technical aspects mean that I come to the films disarmed of the central critical tools I would usually utilise. I confess, I must be a cultural masochist because…*I like it*. The other difficulty is that reviewing this un-reviewable film means essentially describing what happens, and I'd hate to give anything away. Suffice it to say that film is divided into four vignettes (3 live action, the last "puppetry" (to some extent)). Those chapters – as the international title may have given away – revolve around the theme/motif of suicide. The first story is long, and very slow. Yet, that mood reflects the boredom and isolation felt by the protagonist. The film prompts that feeling of tedium and repetition for the viewer too. Since the protagonist is driven to suicide by her isolation, inducing that same feeling for the viewer is unnerving. It also makes the film strangely compelling. This disquieting atmosphere is prevalent. The second story is predictably gloomy, and pretty short. The title notwithstanding, the first chapter established that there is only one possible conclusion for each vignette. The events that lead to suicide are imbued with ominous inevitability. The third story is, not to undersell it, pretty gory. It may be a bit too much for some viewers, as the protagonist's death is filmed in graphic detail. It is nothing that hasn't already been done in countless other splatter films, but its juxtaposition with the previous downbeat sections renders this tale somewhat sensational. As a stand-alone piece, the gore would be nowhere near as affecting. The pacing across the film is what makes this so impactful. Rounding off this arc is a bizarre final section, featuring plastic dolls and some distorted hardcore/extreme techno. I liked it, some will hate it. And who can blame them? As a conclusion, it makes little sense. It doesn't even involve suicide, just murder…if you can call "doll death" murder. Given the thoughtful way the previous sections were established, paced, and placed, it may be that I am entirely missing some ominous political subtext. Perhaps there is a running theme that I am missing out on, not least since I am unable to translate any of the dialogue. Maybe there is some 'chant(ing) in the darkness' that I am not hearing. Make of it what you will. Initially, I was disappointed by Satsu Satsu (ayame). It is not quite the extreme cinema it is hyped to be, or that anyone familiar with Psycho: Tumbling Doll of Flesh might expect. However, it has forced itself under my skin. Seven years after I first saw the film, my mind is still trying to decide if it is filmic genius or exploitative trash. Yet, I have responded to it rather more positively on a visceral and subconscious level…or i wouldn't be writing this review. Anyone expecting another sick-fest from Anaru will probably be disappointed (especailly during the first half). Unlike most other straight-to-VHS J-sploitation films I have seen, this one has left me thinking…and that can be no bad thing. This is a hard film to get hold of, but, with prior warning, is worth checking out. Let it bury into you.


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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1999 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

A Chant in the Darkness See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Psycho See more »
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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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