Baptism Of Blood (Japan 1996)

Rating: ***
Alternate Title: Baptism (Japanese title)
Review Date: 4/22/00
Cast: Rie Imamura, Mie Yoshida

Yikes! Here's a twisted psychological horror thriller that's really uncomfortable to watch. A popular actress (Mie Yoshida) retires and goes into hiding when her body begins to, uh, deteriorate. She puts a sinister plan into motion to transplant her brain into her daughter Sakura's body so that she can live her life as a normal woman. Okay... After the totally disgusting brain operation is complete, Sakura starts doing all sorts of nasty things, which made me cringe in horror. I almost had to turn off the video on several occasions because it was too much to deal with. Anyway, the police start to get suspicious about the mother's disappearance, and Sakura's efforts to hide her atrocities get more desperate until the shocking climax. Not everything works, but the resolution is no more bizarre than the rest of the film.

First of all, let me say that the brain transplant operation is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen - a brilliant piece of gore cinema. Second, the actress who plays Sakura (Rie Imamura) is amazing. Holy shit, what is she, like fifteen years old? She has no right being that sexy - it should be illegal or something. Anyway, she is AWESOME. Very pretty, uncomfortably inviting, and just downright nasty. I was very impressed to see a girl so young and so pure handle such horrific and decidedly adult material with as much confidence as she does. Wow. As far as the film itself goes, it's well made and manages to maintain a good level of tension and suspense throughout. The music is appropriately creepy, making even the most innocent scenes seem suspicious. Horror fans and gorehounds will probably be pleased.

Notes On The DVD release: Hmmm, it looks like Asia Pulp Cinema decided to lift pieces of my review for the film and twist them around a bit for the new trailer they've created. While I'm flattered that they stumbled across my review and consider me a legitimate authority on Asian cinema, I'm a little irked at the misrepresentation of my opinions. Oh well. As a friend of mine once said, "there's no such thing as bad press."