Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 9th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2003
Director: Tetsuo Shinohara
Writer: Sumio Omori
Cast: Masanobu Ando, Arata Furuta, Yoshio Harada, Kanako Higuchi, Fumie Hosokawa, Miwako Ichikawa, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Kayoko Kishimoto, Mantarô Koichi, Koen Kondo, Ryuhei Matsuda, Yumi Morio, Mitsuru Murata, Yoichiro Saito, Sawa Suzuki, Kanji Tsuda, Shungiku Uchida
DVD released: April 29th, 2008
Approximate running time: 112 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Violence erupts when a young man kills a middle aged woman. Her friends from Karaoke seek out and kill her murderer. The cycle of violence does not end there with their retaliation igniting a war when the friends of young man they murdered seek their own revenge. Karaoke Terror is based on a novel written by Ryû Murakami who writings have been made into the following films All Right, My Friend, Almost Transparent Blue, Topaz, Love & Pop, 69, Raffles Hotel, Hashire Ichiro, Audition and Coin Locker Babies.
Director Tetsuo Shinohara visually creates a world which keeps in line with the original source material. The story about two groups of friends who also happen to be united via their love for Karaoke is a bleak tale which shows violence in its rawest form. The escalation of violence towards each other as the film progresses gets larger and even more outlandish then the previous retaliation.
One theme that stands out in the film is how youth is pitted against middle age. The middle age women who before the murder of their friend appeared dead inside and the loss of their friend renewed their lust for life. The young men go from being bored to finding a thrill in killing. The violence in the film is graphic and at times beyond disturbing.
None of the characters in the film ever show any remorse or regret for their actions making caring for any of them near impossible. All around the acting is very good as all the performers look comfortable in their perspective roles. Ultimately Karaoke Terror is an exceptional film that uses satire to convey its message about the escalating violence in today’s society.
Synapse Films presents Karaoke Terror in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Flesh tones and colors look dead on. Details look sharp throughout. Black levels remain constantly strong even during darker scenes. Overall this transfer looks amazing.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Japanese. The audio is free of any audio defects, sound evenly balanced and robust. Removable English subtitles that are error free, easy to read and follow have been included.
A variety of extras have been including like the Theatrical trailer, a Teaser, a T.V. Spot, a eight page booklet with liner notes and a twenty-two minute making of featurette – interviews with Director Tetsuo Shinohara, Novelist Ryû Murakami and cast (In Japanese with English subtitles).
The extras give a solid overview about the source material behind the film and the making of the film. Synapse Films Karaoke Terror DVD is another first rate release that showcases the film to its fullest.