(director: Miike Takashi; screenwriter: Itaru Era; cinematographer: Hideo Yamamoto; editor: Yasushi Shimamura; music: Kôji Endô; cast: Kenichi Endo ( Kiyoshi Yamazaki), Jun Mutô (Takuya), Shungiku Uchida (Keiko), Fujiko (Miki Yamazaki/Daughter), Shôko Nakahara (Asako Murata), Kazushi Watanabe (The Visitor), Ikko Suzuki (Sasaoka); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Reiko Arakawa/Seiichiro Kobayashi/Susumu Nakajima; Media Blasters; 2001-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)

“It follows along the lines of Pasolini’s more cerebral “Teorema” of the seduction of a dysfunctional family by a mysterious stranger.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Audacious, taboo-breaking and scandalous is an apt description of Japan’s Miike Takashi’s (“Dead or Alive”/”Audition”) latest brain-dead shocker, a film I didn’t find particularly appealing or enlightening or any great achievement. A quickie low-budget provocative film that’s shoddily shot on DV (the director makes about four to six films a year). It follows along the lines of Pasolini’s more cerebral “Teorema” of the seduction of a dysfunctional family by a mysterious stranger.

Shamed gung-ho workaholic television reporter Kiyoshi Yamazaki (Kenichi Endo) visits a whorehouse as part of his documentary coverage about sex and violence amongst the nation’s youth and encounters his prostitute nubile daughter Miki (Fujiko). She gets dad hard and he pays to have sex with her in a mirrored room, disappointing her only that he comes too quickly. Kiyoshi is attacked by a mysterious young bearded stranger (Kazushi Watanabe, also a director) dressed in a flaming red shirt and shiny black leather pants, and invites the titular ‘Visitor Q’ to stay in his comfortable but incredibly dysfunctional middle-class home. Visitor Q will ultimately destroy the family by leading each of them to commit their most secret perverted desire. The matriarch Keiko (Shungiku Uchida, a famous author) is a junkie who has welts over her body from the beatings administered with switches by her bully truant teenage son Takuya (Jun Mutô). The son doesn’t go to school because the school bullies pick on him. They come by at night and toss firecrackers and other pyrotechnics against his house. The story only gets cruder: mom learns to get high squirting lactate from her breasts over the kitchen floor, a ‘greenhouse’ scene over anal necrophilia and corpse waste discharge pushes the edge even further, the school bullies are slaughtered in a blood bath by mom and dad, and the concluding greenhouse scene has mom returning to happier days in a maternal role as both hubby and daughter suckle at her breasts. Only the bully son decides to break free from the perverted family and return to his studies.

It plays as a black comedy that skewers the nuclear family of contemporary Japan with its unrelenting attack on their values and state of being. Some might be drawn to it because it’s so outrageously perverse and unique. Others might appreciate it for its sadomasochistic voyeuristic reality-TV style, as it goofs on the popularity of such shows by carrying things to extremes. Many might be turned off by its pointlessness, crassness and lack of taste.

Visitor Q Poster