Danger After Dark boxed set review by The Grim Ringler

The Danger After Dark boxed set from TLA Releasing is a pretty great way to either break into the Asian film scene or to catch up on some of the more interesting titles that have come out in recent years. Released separately, initially, the three titles here are packed together in a surprisingly affordable set. The set itself is held in a very nice collector’s box featuring the cover art that graces the Suicide Club >box, and lists each film and its features on the back. And this is all well and good but what about the movies?

The gem of the set is easily Suicide Club (which was reviewed in depth elsewhere on the site), which is a really thought provoking piece of film. A rash of suicides are sweeping across Japan and no one knows what or who is behind these horrible deaths but a website that counts every new death may hold the key. Thought to be part of a strange suicide pact made by people who have never even met, the truth behind these sudden, and horrible, deaths may be far sinister.

On first glance this looks like another extreme horror film. You have the gore, you have the moments of shock. You have the general feeling of unease that permeates the film. But with all of that you also have a very compelling story and an intricate mystery that, even after several viewings, I still can’t say exactly what the answer to it is. You see, at its heart, the film is asking a very interesting philosophical question.

Without your stuff, without the people in your life, without everything but yourself, what do you have?

What are you without anything?

Beautifully shot and directed, and with fantastic acting, the big knock on the film is how strange it is, which can be off-putting to some and cause others to simple shake their heads in confusion. It’s well worth the challenge though as this is a movie all horror fans should check out.

The message gets muddled at the end, when too much is happening, much of it plain old bizarre, but the questions raised by the film are not easily dismissed. Strange, brutal, and very creepy, this is a very good horror film and a must see.

2LDK (also reviewed elsewhere) is a pretty damned fun movie, for something so simple as it is. Two young women, strangers, decide to share an apartment together to save on living expenses and so they can afford someplace nice. Unfortunately the two don’t really get along as well as one might hope and what might have become a close friendship becomes a rivalry and hatred for one another. The bulk of the film is made up of an extended fight to the death between the two women as they work their way from open hands, to fists, to blunt objects, to sharp objects as their fight escalates. Full of energy and impossible to take your eyes off of, this is a perfect movie for a party. Overflowing with energy and style, this is a must see for fans of Tarantino or fans of hardcore action films. Short, anything but sweet, and captivating, this one’s a fun movie.


Moonchild takes a strange, although interesting, take on the vampire mythos with this film about loyalty and friendship amidst a gang of small time crooks. Befriending a wounded vampire as children, three friends (street hustlers living by their wits) use their new friend and his powers to their advantage as they create their own small-time crime operation by ripping off bigger organizations. Things take a turn for the worse with the friends when they start ripping off the wrong people and they end up having to pay for their theft, thus bringing death to the group and changing things forever for all of them. Flash ahead several years and the vampire has been captured by a government agency and the friends are now a little older, but not so wiser as they are still ripping off people and their money, something that could prove very deadly to them in the end. Just as Kei, the vampire is finally about to be granted the execution he has wanted for so long, his friend Sho pulls him back into the world of the gang warfare for one last favor.

Bogged by a confusing plot that seems to want to forget there’s a vampire in the story in lieu of the gangster plot, and dragged down by some pretty bad acting, this is the clunker in the bunch. Fans will watch it for Japanese pop star Gakt, and for the other singer here – Hyde – but the casual fan will be turned off. There just isn’t a lot to recommend it. There are better gangster films and better vampire films, and as a melding of the two, this couldn’t be more awkward. Its ably shot and isn’t horrendous, but it’s just not a terribly interesting film and, for a two hour movie, that’s death.

The prints on all three films are very good and clean sound and each film is presented as in widescreen. The films suffer from the same thing that a lot of foreign films suffer from and that’s that the film quality just isn’t as clean as what we see with most American films. This doesn’t detract a whole lot, but it can bring down the image quality for a film. The only real disappointment on the set is that there are not more exclusive extras. Even new/alternate art for the films would be a welcome addition, but I think that, as TLA puts together more sets they should look into adding in more extras and incentives for fans to pick up the set. For a first boxed set though, this is a very well done set and fans of Asian cinema and horror films would do well to pick up this affordable set.

7 out of 10 Jackasses
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