Cruel Restaurant (2008)

If there is one thing that I love, absoultely love, in horror, it’s Asian horror. It does all the things that you typically won’t see in most American or other foreign horror movies and that is definitely push the envelope. Cruel Restaurant falls on the more subtle side of over-the-top Japanese horror movies like fan favorites Tokyo Gore Police or Robogeisha. CR is not quite as bloody, but it still draws the viewer in with a rather interesting story. Seriously, can we talk about this story?

CR opens with an exciting first scene, a tranquil beach, a woman sunbathing alone, a man nearby fishing on the shore. Idyllic really. The man’s fishing line catches….he’s got a bite! But what’s on the end of the line is more than he wanted..a lone arm with a large gold ring on its finger. Riveting stuff. So we find out that people have gone missing and the police believe that a nearby dumpling restaurant is to blame. The police aren’t the only ones. A food critic makes a fuss at the restaurant, stating that her sister is missing and she thinks the restaurant has something to do with it as they just won’t give up the secret to their dumpling filling. Tougen Dumplings are the rage in town and no one can figure out the recipe. Our lead detective, Goro Nojima, played wonderfully by Katsuya Naruse, is suspicious of the whole set up and questions the cook, Mr. Chin (Sakae Yamazaki). But Mr. Chin isn’t giving anything up the filling to a couple of “rivals”, he just wants to make his dumplings, feed the hungry people, and protect Ms. Lin (Mihiro), the owner of the shop who also serves there. There is something weird about Mr. Chin and Nojima wants the story. So does a journalist who gets Nojima and his partner to agree to let her help. Ms. Journalist was there when the arm was found and saw the same ring on the hand of the food critic. So, dear viewers, there’s a mystery afoot. Are people the secret ingredient of Tougen Dumplings? Is Cruel Restaurant the new Soylent Green?

As I said before, CR isn’t as bloody as say, Machine Girl, but it has its charm and when it bring out the blood and gore, it’s worth the wait. However, there is an aspect of CR that isn’t in many horror movies. If you’re easily offended, CR isn’t for you, just as a word of warning. What do I mean? It can really only be described as softcore porn in all seriousness. Ms. Lin takes her clothes off a bit more than your average horror movie and there is a rape scene, but rest assured, karma is a bitch and she’s taking heads. As the movie continues, it is easy to ask yourself, “WTF?…no, seriously….WTF??”, but you will enjoy the ride and when you get to the end and find the real secret to Tougen Dumplings, your mind will be completely blown. I don’t want to give away much because I think that Cruel Restaurant is one for the fans and should be watched without taking it too seriously. Enjoy it. I did.

Scream rating: 3 screams

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