Hello, dear readers, this week I’ve got such a treat for you. Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t just some weird Twilight fanfic, but an incredible action movie filled with interesting monsters and even more interesting heroes. Higanjima, is a movie that immediately sinks it’s teeth in and does not let go to the very last second.

The Breakdown

Plot:

The movie opens with a man fleeing for his life through some dark woods. Eventually, his pursuers, vampires, corner him and it seems like his time is up. However, one of our main guys, Atsushi (Dai Watanabe), shows up in the nick of time and kicks some serious vampire butt. I’m talking about this guy waving a giant log around and crushing their skulls with it. After the action dies down our main bad guy is revealed, Miyabi (Koji Yamamoto), who is the big, bad vampire master with some serious lack of melanin. The movie then jumps over to the rest of our main cast back in the civilized world.

We meet Akira (Hideo Ishiguro), which we discover is Atsushi’s younger brother. He is “saved” from some bullies by a mysterious woman named, Rei (Asami Mizukawa), who claims that his now long time missing brother is still alive and well and she wants Akira to come with her to an island and bring him home. Unsure of what Rei’s intentions are, Akira confides the situation to his group of his friends and the rest of our main characters. The group happens across Rei and follows her to a warehouse where they see her helping a vampire drain the blood of a young girl.

After helping the group seemingly kill the vampire, Akira decides to go with her to the island and retrieve his brother. After much drama and debating, the rest of the group joins him as well. After about five minutes of being on the island the entire group, with the exception of Rei, gets captured by the vampires and taken to their dungeons. (Whoomp whoomp.) Lucky for the group one of them is clever enough to get some keys from a guard and after some more awesome fighting and wading through bodies of victims, the group escapes out in to the woods.

While in the woods they happen upon Atsushi, who gives Akira the cold shoulder despite having been gone for years. Once he gets everyone to safety, Atsushi explains that he had come to this island in order to ask his then girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage. He decides it’s a great idea to explore the island’s sacred and forbidden temple, because that’s a great way to get the in-laws to just fall right in love with you. While inside he frees Miyabi and he kills his girlfriend as well as a majority of the island, turning its people in to his vampire subjects. Sounds like a great first impression to the new family, right?

The group is soon discovered and after another awesome fight scene, one of the group is taken prisoner. Atsushi takes the rest of the crew to a faction of resistance fighters who lived on the island before the vampire disaster. There, Akira unlocks his true fighting potential and prepares to fight Miyabi alongside his brother and friends. The big battle is pretty awesome as the “mini-boss,” is a gargoyle straight out of a nightmare. Akira and Atsushi fight Miyabi together in an exciting tandem battle that ends with Akira taking giving the killing blow and Atsushi becoming the thing that he’s been trying to kill for years; a vampire.

Atsushi disappears and Akira is forced to flee the castle as it crumbles, leaving his brother behind and sort of defeating a big purpose of him being there in the first place. With the island freed from the grip of Miyabi, the group gathers together to go back to their homes. However, you know the movie can’t just end like that! Miyabi’s disembodied head opens its eyes and a dark storm brews over the island, rallying the group back to save the day…again. It’s an ending that leaves you hanging, but a little bit of want doesn’t spoil the whole thing.

Acting:

The actors in this movie play their parts quite well. The movie is based off of a manga and there are the stereotypical characters from that genre, such as the tough guy, the love interest girl, and the “chosen” hero. Even though their parts are cliché, they don’t feel cheesy to the point where I couldn’t watch the movie, granted they do have their wacky moments. If Japanese movies, anime, or manga aren’t something you’re used to it might seem a little wonky, but everyone was generally enjoyable and it was done in a way that wasn’t too serious so it was fun to watch.

Visuals:

The CGI is definitely not the best I’ve seen; in fact there are moments where it’s downright goofy. However, the gore and practical for the more deformed characters is great. I loved the designs for the creatures and I can forgive a little bit of wonky CGI for originality and exciting creatures. There’s no shortage of blood either, so the gore hounds among us have that to look forward to.

What Say I:

Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island, was a pleasant surprise of a movie. I honestly expected it to be a weird romantic vampire flick, but was greeted with blood, guts, and action. It’s a fun movie that keeps you engaged, while still being goofy enough for you to laugh at it every now and again. I had fun watching it and I bet that you will too. Give a watch and check out some vampires getting their head squished.

Credits & Other Stuff:

Writer: Kôji Matsumoto & Tetsuya Oishi
Director: Tae-gyun Kim

Trailer for, Higanjima: Escape from Vampire Island.

About The Author

A graduate in Creative Writing, I love horror, scifi, action, and revenge movies, but b-movies hold a special place in my heart.

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