Gehenna: Where Death Lives Is Much Better Than Its Title
Gehenna: Where Death Lives. Film Details.
Director: Hiroshi Katagiri
Release Date: May 4th, 2018
Release Format: VOD
MPAA Rating: N/A
Running Time: 110 mins
A group visits Saipan to search for locations for their company’s newest resort. As they find what they think is the perfect spot, they discover a hidden bunker on the property which they decide to explore. However, they soon find out that curiosity can kill. As each member faces their most private secrets and the secrets of the bunker itself, the results lead to a most shocking conclusion…
Gehenna: Where Death Lives is a horror film written and directed by Hiroshi Katagiri and co-written by Nathan Long and Brad Palmer. Katagiri is most known as the visual effects of Pacific Rim, Jurassic Park 3, Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem, The Hunger Games and War of The Worlds. In Gehenna, he delivers his first horror feature as a director and does it majestically with help from a great cast, script and set pieces!
From the Press Release:
Encompassing horror, suspense and a twist that will blow your mind, Gehenna fixes on five people who enter a hidden bunker from WW2, and realize it’s way more than a bunker. Some fates are MUCH worse than death.
Spectral Motion, known for award-winning work on such films as Hellboy and Looper, did the makeup effects on the creature played by Jones.
Gehenna : Where Death Lives is in theaters across the U.S and on digital Friday, 5/4 distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment.
Simon Phillips as Alan
Sean Sprawling as Pepe
Eva Swan as Paulina
Justin Gordon as Tyler
Matthew Edward Hegstrom as Dave
Lance Henriksen as Morgan
Doug Jones as Creepy Old Man
Masashi Odate as Japanese Officer
At an initial glimpse, I’m not generally moved when I see so much promotion for an actor behind a film that I’ve never heard about before. I’m talking about Lance Henriksen and Doug Jones. I mean, I cherish them both and I’m a tremendous fan but most of the time is just to advertise the film and make it buzz. I’m not saying that Gehenna isn’t the case, it is, but the film itself played out really well and I appreciated it rather a lot… I was surprised.
The performances are all around very satisfactory and the dialogues felt genuine and with a purpose. I was fascinated how the cast really stood out collectively and it’s one of the qualities I adore in this film. They seem to enjoy themselves in this story and the characters are overall interesting.
The film starts off with a ritual and some stylish camera sequences that brought innovation and quality. The story itself is interesting and different, I was attracted to see what would happen after and how the story would unfold. From the moment the characters find each other and decide to go to the bunker, the pace is fast and oriented but it slowly drags a while when they finally enter and explore the bunker. For me, it wasn’t that problematic because as I stated before I was intrigued to see what was happening but you could feel that occasionally the suspense was only there to fill some blanks.
The practical effects were dominant with a strong performance from Doug Jones as the creepy old man. You’d be amazed at how much creepy creatures are down there, don’t worry you’re in for a treat… Katagiri definitely brought out the finest of him in working with these brilliant actors and set designs. I respected how the bunker looked and the details of the props in each chamber.
The atmosphere and cinematography worked in sync with the camera angles that were used and exposed by the director’s mind to bring the horror back to life. I was scared in some scenes and even though most of the moments were predictable; they weren’t exaggerated, they felt appropriate, and they needed to be there. When the characters keep looking for a way out of the bunker the demand of air feels palpable and the claustrophobia grows narrower and narrower. You can sense the fear of the characters and their desire to get out as fast as possible.
I appreciated the final twist, and it didn’t feel forced just to dazzle the audience. Gehenna has a lot to offer and I can’t wait to watch more work from Katagiri and his crew.
A beautiful horror tale about honor, respect and curses. If you’re into spirits, outstanding landscapes, creepy monsters in bunkers and a fine ensemble cast, feel free to watch Gehenna: When Death Lives. I know the title isn’t that charming, but the film really is.