- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Why Don't You Play in Hell?

Also known as:
Jigoku de naze warui (original title)

Year: 2013

Genre: Comedy / Action / Crime / Splatter

Language: 115 min

Runtime: Japanese

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono


Ten years after the wife of a yakuza boss kills his feuding clans members, she's finally coming out of prison. The two yakuza clans are in the middle of another feud and a group of independent filmmakers get tied into it, to make the film of their lives. This is so that the wife will get to see her young actress daughter in her debut feature when she comes out.

Our thoughts:
What should you expect from a master filmmaker like Sion Sono, who has created a ton of violent and intense movies. We're talking movies such as "Suicide Club", "Strange Circus", "Love Exposure" and "The Land of Hope" to mention a few. Shinya Tsukamoto is my favorite Japanese filmmaker, but filmmakers like Sion Sono are not far behind at this point. But what else can he do, when he has ventured into some truly disturbing as well as emotional areas in the past? With "Why Don't You Play in Hell?" he created one of the most insane, over-the-top funny and violent epics of recent years.

A group of young filmmakers pray to the Movie Gods that they will get a chance to make their masterpiece one day. At a different place in town, the wife of a yakuza wife kills members of their nemesis clan when they come visit and gets thrown in jail for ten years. Just as her child actress of a daughter is loved by the entire country for a toothpaste commercial she sang in. Ten years later the wife is finally coming out of prison, expecting to see her daughter's debut feature film. The problem is that the daughter fled from the film shoot, and now the yakuza boss has to make sure the daughter acts in a movie for her mother to see. The Movie Gods will finally listen to the prayer of the young filmmakers (now around 30 years old), as they are forced to make a movie with and about the yakuza clan.

"Why Don't You Play in Hell?" is the perfect example of how insane Japanese cinema can be, without it falling into the annoyance of movies like "Tokyo Gore Police" (something which seems done to death by now). The movie is laugh-out-loud funny, and that's rare for me. The jokes are all over the place, sometimes in obvious gestures, sometimes in simple deadpan jokes, but the most wonderful of all is when they're tied into the surreal imagery. It's not just a funny movie, it's incredibly beautiful in all its bizarre imagery and over-the-top nature which can jump into a dream state just within seconds. And of course, the toothpaste commercial jingle is sang through-out the entire movie, so you're definitely gonna be hearing that in your mind afterwards.

The movie goes quite an extensive way to connect the filmmakers to the yakuzas, but it's so entertaining to watch that I think it's even better that it's under unbelievable circumstances. When the filmmakers are finally in the making of the movie with the yakuzas, I think I laughed more than with any other movie this year. It's absurd and stupid but in all the right ways. Hell, it even made me ignore the horrible CGI blood, because the movie is 100% fun so it doesn't really take me out of it.

I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone, so if you like Sion Sono, or you want an outrageous, bloody comedy, then this is brilliant. I watched it with my wife and both of us were entertained every second of the nearly 2 hour long movie. The movie has everything you could ask for, and does it with fantastic style and enthusiasm. I loved Sion Sono's work before this, and this just shows that he's capable of every genre. He just likes to be violent when he does it!

Positive things:
- Funny as hell.
- Bloody as hell.
- Beautiful as hell.
- Absurd as hell.
- Epic as hell.

Negative things:
- The CGI blood.

Gore: 3.5/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 4/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 5/5

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