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Naoki Yoshimoto
Masaya Adachi
Ayumi Kakizawa
Ko Murobushi
Bottom Line: 

This obscure, black and white silent art film about a Japanese Vampire that runs about 56 minutes long.  Also it is exactly the sort of incomprehensible film you might expect by this description. Let us look at the Japanese take on the classic tale of vampires and ponder amongst ourselves how much it “bites”.

Sanguivorous is the story of a pretty young Asian half-blooded vampire who is torn between the love of her modern day human lover and the all-powerful vampire master who turned her hundreds of years ago. Note that when I mentioned the word “story” in the previous sentence, take it with a grain of salt, because as with many an abstract art film, this one is largely designed to be a case of style over substance.  With Sanguivorous being a horror movie, said “style” comes in the guise of close to an hour of industrial sounds, metal clanging, and the ever-present background hum which sounds like the faint mechanical groan of an air conditioner. Additionally, most of the onscreen action is a washed out computer rendered false black and white palette with greys so abstract they often appear to animated. 

There are admittedly lots of scenes of necks being bitten by unpleasant and despicable looking vampires, yet, with only four characters in the movie, it takes far too long for the scenes of biting violence to even be understood, much less appreciated for the stylistic, Nosferatu vibe which appears to have inspired this film. 

Unrepentantly vicious yet at the same time completely fucking nonsensical and difficult to follow, Sanguivorous seems like the type of obscure bit of anonymous filler footage that might be seen playing silently on the background big screens of a night club or torture den frequented by vampires or occultly bad guys from an action movie (like the heavies from any Crow film). As a film to be appreciated on its own merit, I found it to be shrill, unpleasant, and grating.  Granted, all proper horror is supposed to have a negative effect on its viewer’s sensibilities, but I am talking in the most pedestrian sense – an  “Airhorn in the ear” level of physical discomfort here.

With a soundtrack that sounded like it was made entirely out of random machine shop noises and a cast of characters who bite and drain each other relentlessly in artistic, abstract sequences which neither feed nor sustain the dark curiosity of even the most vehement Vampirophile, this film and its basic premise would have been better told in a four minute music video - assuming of course that the accompanying industrial cacophony here were replaced with actual music.

Special features include the short film “Nowhere” and a brief Making Of featurette.

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