Grotesque – Review

In 2009, a film was released that, according to the BBFC website, was billed as “the film that could make even the most extreme splatter horror fan vomit”, which is a bold claim. That film is the Japanese release Grotesque, directed by Kôji Shiraishi. Whether it could make hardened horror fans vomit is irreverent to a point in the UK, as it was banned by the BBFC. With all this, how I could turn down watching this.

On the BBFC website, the plot is summed up as “a man kidnaps a couple on their first date and subjects them to various acts of sexual violence and extreme torture, while demanding that they ‘excite’ him sexually and prove their love for each other through death. After enduring considerable pain, suffering and humiliation, they are murdered – just another two of his numerous victims”. That is a pretty detailed description of the plot. All bases are covered.


In terms of entertainment, in comes down to how entertained you would be by 75 minutes of torture and extreme gore. The couple in this are violently and sexually tortured throughout the entire film before finally being murdered. The gore effects are OK and no body part is safe throughout. For example, there is castration, eye gouging, amputation and evisceration. My main problem with this film is that it is boring. It has nothing beyond the violence. Which is one of the reasons the BBFC had a problem with it. As I said, I found it mostly just boring.


As mentioned above, the BBFC had an issue with the lack of an real plot. In a statement on their site, they said “although Grotesque was for the most part considered to be a well made film, there is minimal narrative or character development.

“Compulsory cuts are most likely to be required to scenes of sadistic violence or torture which invites the viewer to identify with the perpetrator in a way that could be harmful”. They went on to say that “Grotesque is also markedly different to the Saw and Hostel ‘torture porn’ series, in that those films contain a more developed narrative and there is therefore more contextual justification for the strongest scenes. It is in fact more similar in tone and treatment to another film called NF713, which consisted of a lengthy torture scenario, mostly of a sexual nature, involving a female victim and a male doctor character. Cuts to NF713 were not regarded as viable and the work was refused a classification certificate in April 2009.

“The Guidelines on rejected works state that ‘If a central concept of the work is unacceptable (for example, a sex work with a rape theme); or if intervention in any of the ways noted above is not acceptable to the submitting company; or if the changes required would be extensive or complex; the work may be rejected, ie refused a classification at any category’. Cuts were not considered viable given that there was so much unacceptable material in the film, and the film was therefore rejected”.

Based on this. I understand the decision. This film does only exist to torture its characters. I did not find it offensive in any real way. It is just a splatter film. Nothing more. Nothing less.


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