DEMEKING: THE SEA MONSTER
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
Fair warning: Demeking is about two misfits whose lives briefly glance off each other's, and is not a genre film in any way.
Is it good movie?
As normally happens to me with foreign films, I cannot for the life of me remember any characters' names. So we’ll go with dude A and dude B. Dude A is a high school student in a small port town in Japan who gets bullied and beaten up in school, but really comes to life when hanging out with his trio of elementary school-aged friends. Together they are the Explorer Club, always out looking for adventure. One day they meet up with dude B, who is as disaffected as dude A, except in a more inward way. He works at the local amusement park, and leaves a series of scavenger hunt clues for the Explorer Club one day before taking off to seek a new life in Tokyo. The clues lead the boys to a revelation about a sea monster from space…or possibly just the extent of dude B’s delusional mind.
Demeking could have been a lot of things, but none of them was a horror film. It does have one Kaiju scene that is frankly quite poorly done, and like the rest of the film was in bad need of a proper editor. It goes on much longer than it should. Which is the curse that knee-caps this film throughout its 100-minute or so run. When dude B is working out, we watch him pull his spring thingie over and over again, and there are endless scenes of the Explorer Club riding their bikes around town. There is also the dangling thread of dude B’s possible homosexuality. If the movie was pared of extraneous scenes and supported its subplots more, this could have been a thoughtful exploration of two misfits in a small town finding each other, if only briefly.
Which is not to say that the film is all bad, of course. The actors are really natural and engaging, which says a lot when preteen are involved, and the photography is beautiful. The director frames the scenes with a refreshingly wide scope, giving this Westerner a nice sense of the beauty of a small Japanese port town, while conveying the emptiness and loneliness it would possess for someone who feels like they’ll be trapped there their whole lives. The Demeking Kaiju suit is absurd and the CGI sucks on toast, the decision to set the film in 70’s is nonsensical, and the whole movie just dies a quiet death at the end, but it is at least pleasant to watch in most other regards. You won’t have wasted your time watching this, but you won’t be totally satisfied, either.
Video / Audio
Video: Cinema Epoch apparently does not care about giving the viewer audio and video specs. But the transfer here looks good, no grain, artifacts, or color drop-outs that I noticed.
Audio: Again, no idea, but the mix sounded fine to me. There are optional English subtitles which are irritatingly not the default setting.
There is a still gallery, and a gallery of trailers for other Cinema Epoch titles, and that’s all she wrote.
Demeking is not a genre movie at all. It is the most horribly mislabeled film I’ve seen in a long time. It is also not the tender human drama that it could have been, but all in all is a well-made film. If you want a slice of life from another culture, this is a good film to watch. Just prepare to be sort of let down in the crunch.