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Killer Bride's Perfect Crime
Killer Bride's Perfect Crime is the essence of black comedy, in that it presents death, suicide, stalking and various outré sexual obsessions alongside visual humor and musical numbers. Remarkably, though, it's not so dark that it can't be genuinely sweet at times, and of course very funny.
Hiroko is a young woman who's always had bad luck: forever falling down in grade school footraces, both literally and metaphorically, and branded a loser by nearly everyone, except her beloved grandfather. But now her life has taken a turn for the better. She's going to marry her handsome and successful fiancé Kenichi tomorrow, and quits her job to have time to get the last few things squared away at her apartment.
Her landlord Ohya, who is also her next door neighbor, stops by for a last visit, and after a series of odd circumstances ends up accidentally dying at the hands of Hiroko, with perhaps an assist from his much put upon pet dog. (All of this happens before the nine minute mark.) While Hiroko wants to take responsibility for the accidental death, she simply can't do so until after she gets married. Her grandfather is in very poor health, and she promised herself that he would see her in her wedding gown before he dies. So, she packs Ohya's body in a suitcase with plans to dump him at Mt. Fuji until a later date. On the way, she inadvertently prevents the suicide of Kobayashi, a young woman who is determined to kill herself after being rejected by one lover after another. Unfortunately, it seems she is fated to be unable to kill herself, as something always happens to prevent it. Once she figures out what Hiroko is up to, she promises to help hide the body if Hiroko agrees to help her end her life.
This might all sound a bit ridiculous. That's because it is ridiculous and not just a bit. The film is clearly over the top, right from the get go, with the tarted up goth girls singing about Hiroko's engagement, and even acting as something of a Greek chorus for the first part of the film. Killer Bride's Perfect Crime is not about subtlety or realism, it's about fun. The intentionally goofy special effects, the tobogganing down the mountain on a corpse filled suitcase, the gorilla suit, the body shaped hole dug in the ground: all of it is geared toward laughter with a nod and a wink. The film doesn't take itself seriously, and is willing to go to almost any length to get a chuckle. And there are plenty of chuckles. Visual jokes abound, and the comic timing of the two female leads is close to flawless. The wacky characters they encounter, the absurd complications and throwaway plot cul-de-sacs only add to the fun.
But underneath the goofiness there is a strain of warmth. The relationship between Hiroko and her grandfather is genuine and heartfelt. No explanation is offered for why she was raised by her grandfather and not her parents, but the entire plot is driven by Hiroko's devotion to him, and if that relationship had come off as forced or artificial, the film would not have worked nearly so well. But it works flawlessly, even though little screen time is devoted to it. We believe that Hiroko would do nearly anything to fulfill her promise, and she remains quite sympathetic and likeable, even while the character could quite easily have been viewed as cold and heartless. The sympathetic characterizations, even that of the morose and suicidal Kobayashi, go a long way toward making Killer Bride's Perfect Crime work, and work it does. Highly recommended.
The video is presented in 1.33:1 standard, and looks fairly good. The colors are rich and the image is crisp and clean.
The audio is Dolby digital 2 channel. It works well, though nothing exceptional is going on. The dialogue is always clearly audible, and English subtitles are included for those who don't speak Japanese. No hiss or other problem can be heard.
There are few extras included with the disc. The trailer for the film is presented, along with a short TV spot. Also included are trailers for Fish Story, The King and the Clown, The Recipe, I'm a Cyborg and That's OK, The Servant and Rikidozan.
Killer Bride's Perfect Crime has a lot of dark subject matter, but never really comes off as a dark film. Everything is treated with such a light, whimsical touch that it never bothers the viewer that this is essentially a film about a woman trying to hide a body. It succeeds quite well at the comedy, providing several laugh out loud moments, and the gonzo situations don't hurt this effort a bit. If you're looking for some humor from an eastern perspective, this should hit the spot.