“Predictability. [pri-dik-tuh-bil-i-tee]. Noun. Consistent repetition of a state, course of action, behaviour, or the like, making it possible to know in advance what to expect”.
Yep, I guess that sums up Gehenna: Where Death Lives from director and writer Hiroshi Katagiri (Hindsight (Short), Crayon (Short)).
It stars Doug Jones, the fish/man from The Shape of Water . This time he might be out of the tank but he’s still locked up in a hidden Japanese bunker from World War 2 in Saipan.
So far, the story can go a lot of different ways. However, when we tell you that a group of unwanted guests visit that bunker, you probably already know where Gehenna: Where Death Lives will take you.
In this case, the group is a real estate company visiting the area during a business trip. Paulina, Eva Swan (The Beast, The Ruffian), Tyler, Justin Gordon (Before I Wake, Oculus) her architect and their photographer David, Matthew Edward Hegstrom are joined by Alan, Simon Phillips (He Who Dares, Shame The Devil) and Pepe, Sean Sprawling (Wolf Mother), his assistant when they’re scouting for locations for a new 5-star resort.
When they think they have found the perfect spot, they encounter the Japanese bunker we talked about earlier. Because of the importance of the spot, they decide to go and explore the bunker.
But, as you probably could guess already, that turns out not to be a good idea at all. Especially, since the bunker was built on ancient burial grounds.
The group becomes separated because of the different traps but also because they all have to face their own personal demons from the past. All trapped in one place with no visible exit? Sounds predictable? Wait until you hear that only one of them can survive in the hope to find a way out.
Honestly, the start from the film is promising. You see some action, some friendship, some laughter and the story moves at a high speed tempo.
However, once the company gets down into the bunker, the movie becomes a rip-off from every horror film we’ve seen.
You have the good guy who might not be as good as initially thought. You have the guy whose only goal is to escape, no matter how many dead bodies he has to overcome, and you also have the “we love each other but we won’t admit it until right before it’s too late” couple.
Because of this repetition in both storyline and characters, it’s hard to stay focussed on the movie because you’ve seen it all before and the horror part is really pushed into the background. The horror and scary moments are as rare as the 29th of February and as predictable that there are 7 days in a week.
Ok it’s not all bad. The cinematography is very well done. It captures the dark and mysterious vibe that a movie like that should have and the special effects aren’t too much.
They kept it subtitle but still prominent enough to not become fully persiflage. Also the acting performances aren’t that bad either.
We do feel the emotions of being scared, being determined, forgiveness, anger, sadness and longing for both friendship and love sometimes throughout the movie. There’s no overacting but that doesn’t mean that the acting performances are captivating.
Should you go and watch Gehenna: Where Death Lives? Yes and no. It’s a brain dead movie so it’s one you can put on without thinking too much, just relax and watch it.
There are some flaws to this movie, especially when it comes to predictably, but it also has its strengths such as the wonderful footage and acting performances.
If you like these kind of movies, then you should watch this film the first change you get. If you’re looking for a film that’s less predictable and with more horror and scary effects but with the same strengths? Then we advise you to pick another movie.