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“OVER YOUR DEAD BODY” (Blu-ray Review)

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As a fan of Takashi Miike for quite some time now, this writer has to respect the A-game and versatility that the man brings to his films. Shooting multiple films every year across different genres and subject matters, Miike finds the intersection between commercial and creative with an unmistakable level of talent at his behest. And yet, there’s something decidedly specific about his style and cinematic voice that separates him from his contemporaries, and makes jaw-dropping, surreal nightmares feel oddly familiar.

Such is the case with OVER YOUR DEAD BODY, a film that carries over several thematic similarities to previous Miike horror projects and yet feels ultimately different and jarring for its own reasons. As with many Miike efforts, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY blurs the line between fantasy and reality, telling the story of life imitating art when a play about dishonor and revenge takes a supernatural life of its own. And like a Miike film, you’ll know when to laugh, you’ll know when to gasp, and you’ll definitely know when to watch between your fingers; in fact, some moments are so gruesome that this writer was surprised it fell into the hands of Scream Factory.

Luckily, Miike also offers enough new stuff here to keep things unpredictable, especially during the film’s second half. While Miike has always punctuated his horror with a fair offering of pain, the horror in OVER YOUR DEAD BODY feels less sadistic in nature, with as much attention paid to the crime as it is the punishment. Furthermore, Miike has rarely embraced the fantastic as much as he does here, and takes advantage of the theatrical nature of the story (complete with exaggerated make-up and stage-quality sets) to create a very distinct revenge/horror hybrid. And Miike’s quality control on OVER YOUR DEAD BODY is superb as well, proving his skill with actors and FX work is as strong as ever.

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On the upside of this release, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY sports an incredible transfer from distributor Scream Factory. In terms of video quality, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY offers a sharp, deep high definition transfer, which helps keep the scenes drenched in darkness looking crystal clear and greatly dilute crush. Likewise, the audio mixes are superb, with Scream Factory offering a 2.0 English Language dub track, 5.1 Japanese Language track and a 2.0 Japanese Language alternative for those with more basic home theater set-ups.

However, outside of the transfer, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY is almost completely barren when it comes to extras, which is rare for Scream Factory, let alone an original release. Although one might not expect Miike to provide a commentary for a film somewhat flexible in interpretation, the absence of behind-the-scenes features, interviews or even a critics’ commentary is noticeable and admittedly disappointing. In fact, the only special feature on the disc is the original trailer, which can only be accessed via the film’s pop-up menu.

Overall, the biggest draw to this Blu-ray release will be the name above the title, with OVER YOUR DEAD BODY guaranteed to creep out Takashi Miike fans as well as gorehounds at large. While OVER YOUR DEAD BODY sports an top-tier AV transfer from Scream Factory, the almost complete lack of features might turn off some casual collectors and those who with weaker constitutions. At the end of the day, if you’re familiar with the Japanese horror maestro, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY is likely already on your list, while Blu-ray aficionados might want to check their tolerance for the lurid (or better yet, check out Miike’s AUDITION or his segment in THREE… EXTREMES) before jumping into this title headfirst.

About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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