In his review, Imagination Connoisseur, Jason Webster, says OVER YOUR DEAD BODY is a slow burn that leads to an memorable finish, making it a classic of the J-Horror genre.
Read his review to learn more.
OVER YOUR DEAD BODY (2014)
Review by Jason Webster
OVER YOUR DEAD BODY (2014) is my second favourite J-Horror film alongside Hideo Nakata’s RINGU (1998) and my second favourite film by Takashi Miike behind FIRST LOVE (2020).
The narrative centres on popular actress Miyuki Goto (Ko Shibasaki) who has landed the lead role of Oiwa in a new theatre adaptation of the popular folk legend Kaidan. She gets her lover Kosuke Hasegawa (Ebizō Ichikawa XI) the male lead in the production despite the fact he is a relative unknown as an actor. Miyuki is the object of unreciprocated lust from her male co-stars Rio Asahina (Miho Nakanishi) and Jun Suzuki (Hideaki Itō). Kosuke begins an affair with Miyuki’s understudy (Hitomi Katayama). As Miyuki’s desperate obsession to keep Kosuke and his obsession for her understudy develop it begins to blur the line between fantasy and reality which may have deadly consequences.
OVER YOUR DEAD BODY (2014) is a slow burn horror film that simmers building the tension that crescendos to a memorable climax. With the screenplay written by Kikumi Yamagishi (HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI), the film is intensely psychological with supernatural undertones. The themes of obsession, adultery, jealously and suspicion, guilt, emotional breakdown and revenge are explored within the film.The film is stylish and visceral, it is a technical achievement in terms of production design by Yuji Hayashida, editing and the richness of cinematography by Nobuyasu Kita (13 ASSASSINS): the shadowy, low-lit world of the stage is contrasted by the vibrance of the outside world. The way Miike and Kita also take into consideration how colour, perspective and framing are also used within the film to illicit the right emotion and level of impact.
There are subtle, strategic and deftly implemented visual cues and metaphors that create parallels between the characters, play and the 1959 feature film adaptation of the Kaidan. The sparing use of gore allows it to have the desired impact and significance when it does appear. So, in this aspect, it is one of more toned-down films directed by Takashi Miike.
OVER YOUR DEAD BODY is sufficient evidence that Miike would be an inspirational choice to direct a straight feature film adaptation of a theatrical production – whether an adaptation of a Japanese Noh or Kabuki play or a Broadway musical. Miike utilises every directorial technique to produce a film that is effective in its pacing, aesthetics and acting. The film features a terrific performance by ever reliable female lead Ko Shibasaki.The casting of Ebizo Ishikawa XI as Kosuke Hasegawa was brilliant as he is a famous and acclaimed stage actor, especially Kabuki theatre. So, he was able to create an authentic performance for the Kaidan stage play scenes. The ending does provide the audience with a twist that no one would have seen coming providing – one last shock. The film challenges you to uncover what is real and what is the fantasy. Which one of the main characters is, actually, unravelling emotionally and psychologically?
With a running time of 94 minutes, Over Your Dead Body was released on 23 August 2014 in Japan where it was distributed by the Toei Company. Within the United States, the film received its theatrical release through distributor the Shout Factory.
Overall, reviews for Over Your Dead Body suggest it is a solid if unspectacular film, However, I believe this film is hugely underrated. However, numerous critics gave the film high praise for its aesthetics for the performances of its leads.
A positive review by Bloody Digusting’s Chris Coffel said that Over Your Dead Body is “haunting, graphic, gruesome and beautiful all at once. It is Miike. For as visually stunning as the film is, I think real beauty is the way the story unfolds.
Because Miike essentially removes the line between reality and fiction you’re never quite sure where the movie is going to end and as a result it keeps you on your toes.” He even went so far as to call it close to a masterpiece. Jana Monji of Rogerebert.com also gave the film a positive review and called the film “visually stunning”.
For myself, I feel that Over Your Dead Body was a welcome return to form by master director Takashi Miike and is certainly one of his best films and one of the best of the J-Horror genre.
I recommended this film for fans of both Takashi Miike and the J-Horror genre.