NEGATIVE HAPPY CHAINSAW EDGE
Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
A young man finds a girl sitting alone in the park one night. He warns him to stay away, because he may die. But before he can leave, a monstrous dude with a hooded robe and a chainsaw starts to raise a little hell. Ah, young love can be rough when you have real life demons attacking you.
Is it good movie?
And now for the strangest title I’ve heard in awhile, Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge. Not only is this an odd title, it is also an odd film. Basically, it is a teen love story that happens to involve a monstrous robed creature wielding a chainsaw. This Japanese film is a hybrid of romantic drama, comedy and action horror. You could probably compare it slightly to the American television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer in more ways than one. For starters, you have a young high school girl who is battling a demon with remarkable prowess. Secondly, there is a definite relation between the beast she battles and the current situation in her life. And of course, the quirky humor that blends in with the action. Obviously the biggest difference is that the girl in Negative Happy is not a slayer, she just happened to get some powers when the demon came… or it could be that she was born with it too.
It begins with a young man named Yosuke (Yosuke Asari) who is sort of a slacker. He is not doing very well at school and he is continually depressed because one of his best friends died in a motorcycle accident. Although he seems to be more down because his buddy was always better than him and he never had the chance to beat him. Sure it seems shallow, but when we see the two of them with another buddy, it sort of makes sense. And when Yosuke finds a girl sitting alone at the park, she tells him to go unless he wants to die. But before he can get her to explain herself, a large grim reaper type of man falls from the moon after a sudden snowfall - no, I’m not making this up – and he and the girl begin to fight. But before a victor between beauty and the beast is rewarded, the chainsaw guy flies up into the night sky. It is then that Yosuke realizes he must help this girl, even if she has a problem with it. Thus, a quirky little romance begins.
While the colorful action is an important element in Negative Happy, it is the love story that is really the key. Both Yosuke and this girl named Eri (Meguni Seki) seem to grow fond of each other, with the two sharing a very sweet and satisfying chemistry. I enjoyed both of their performances and really wanted these two crazy kids to stick it out. Since so much of the film is devoted to their relationship, it is absolutely key that it works. And yes, it does. As I have not read the original work that this film is based on (Tatsuhiko Takimoto's cult novel), I am unaware how important the love story angle plays. But here, that seems to be the main focus. There are two lost souls who both have demons to fight. Whether it is a loss of a friend or the loss of family, it is simply the demons that both Eri and Yasuki have to battle, while it happens to be in the form of a deadly grim reaper type of monster. Again, this is much like the Buffy angle, where each episode would correlate a real life situation to a not so real life monster. Eri even tells Yosuke that the chainsaw wielding maniac gets stronger the more depressed she gets.
Director Takuji Kitamura creates an interesting looking piece here. While sometimes the CG is less than stellar, the set design and the look of the creature is better than one would expect. He really gives the film a sense of style that, but never lets it all get too serious. I enjoyed the energy here and the sweet nature that the story offers. But what the hell are they thinking when it comes to selling this flick? The DVD cover looks like something out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Madman. And even the quote on the back mentions the “indestructible chainsaw-wielding maniac…”, although that is not the whole quote so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was taken from a negative review. But yes, I did like the film and I thought it looked terrific, even if it sometimes feels a bit too odd for its own good. And the battles with the robed one are not nearly as exciting as they should be. But hey, I dug his chainsaw.
Video / Audio
Video: This 16.9 Widescreen transfer is very good. It complements the colors that the film uses nicely.
Audio: The Dolby Stereo 5.1 also is quite good. Good times had by all.
As far as special features go, all you really get is a Trailer and a Behind the Scenes with “Oresama” which spends more time on the band created for the film. While this is a slightly entertaining extra, it felt a bit like a featurette on the Disney Channel.
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge is a sweet little teen romance film that has an added touch of violence. While the DVD claims it to be the “uncut” version, it makes me think that the cut version was G rated. The violence is terrible and there was little else in it that would offend. But with that said, I had fun with Chainsaw Edge thanks to a talented director and a good cast. This is an enjoyable film if you know what you are getting into.