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Notes On: Gehenna Where Death Lives (2016)

Gehenna is what the audience goes through while watching this pile of crap.

A bunch of employees of some company travels to Saipan in Phillipines. They accidentally find a secret tomb, which they decide to explore. Once they enter the forgotten sanctuary, things get rough.

I believe it’s safe to assume that “Gehenna: Where Death Lives” is not on the watchlist of the vast majority of film buffs. Heck, I don’t know which synapse in my brain froze and made me watch it. However, since I did waste my time, why not have some fun at least and let the hate flow.

The beginning showcases an old man, speaking pidgin Spanish, who is tortured by a bunch of locals. The strange ritual ends with the shaman peeling off the man’s face. We then quickly jump to the modern times. Here we meet our heroes – a crew of Z-list actors, who struggle whenever a second of silence creeps around the corner. There is a corny camera man, a loser, who got lost on his way to the set of “American Pie”, a poser who speaks Japanese in order to get laid and a blonde girl, who is between being corporate and a tourist. The party is also joined by a grumbling guy with a beard and a local, chubby guide, whom will be given a special treatment in this article.

All things considered, the happy crew is a nightmare. Their dialogues are painful to follow and listen to, because these people can’t act. Plain and simple.

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Nonetheless, acting is just a percent of what’s bad in “Gehenna…”. The main problem is that it’s not scary at all. It takes a lot from other genre offerings, but fails miserably to extract the cool things. It’s like taking several spices and ingredients to make a unique sauce and then pouring a liter of water into the pot. Sounds good, doesn’t work.

Who inspired the debuting director Hiroshi Katagiri then?

Well, “Rec” and its sequels for starters, then “Catacombs”, “The Descent”… You could probably list a few more. The point is that Katagiri doesn’t bother to have his own style. He lacks anything remotely original in the way things work in his movie. The light and shadow orchestra is boring, copying everything that the genre has known for years. The soundtrack is bland, the plot chaotic.

Even the creature (played by Doug Jones… yes, the water creature from “The Shape Of Water“) is laughable, crawling in the darkness or popping out of nowhere.

Read about the 10 most expected horror movies in 2018.

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Finally, there is our moustache-y guide, who deserves special applause. Sean Sprawling, the actor playing the character, is the most solid material for a Razzie in years. The levels of cringe that Sprawling has achieved in “Gehenna…”, are outstanding. Every time he appeared on the screen – whenever he was possessed, naked or just being himself – I was in tears. Each line, each gesture – it all seemed so uncomfortable, like a bad sitcom. You can’t make a horror movie, when you have an exemplary modern-SNL cast member on set.

“Gehenna: Where Death Lives” is the uber bad horror film – mentioning it will make you shine among your friends (given they appreciate the cult of bad films). I tortured myself so that you can limit your torments to reading my notes here. And believe, this is nothing compared to what Katagiri has up his sleeve. If that’s the way he debuted, we might be seeing a new trash-horror king rising.

Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2016)

Dir. Hiroshi Katagiri

Cast: Don’t bother.

Hate Grade: 8/10

Want more hate? Read the review of Netflix’s Mute.

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