Written by: Tim Nordstedt.

The cover and the fact that it is from Japan gave me the wrong impression, Cruel Restaurant almost seems like a hommage to the Chinese Category III movies. At the very beginning I thought that someone took a copy of an Untold Story movie, gave it an alternative title and slapped on a nice cover. That wasn't the case but it´s really similar, Cruel Restaurant adds a bit of Japanese quirkyness instead of the serious tones of Cat III and some weird sexscenes.

Storywise it's not that much that differs either, a couple of people mysteriously dissapears, and after a fisherman surprisingly reels in a severed hand the local police loosely and by mistake draws their suspicions to a restaurant that makes the greatest, most delicious Tougan dumplings and ofcourse the recipe is a big secret. And from there on we are constantly getting hints of human flesh being served in the dumplings or that the police department are looking the wrong way.

In the midde of everything we follow our leading lady Lin through flashbacks on her long road to master the art of fried dumplings and here is where things get out of hand, here we finally get to know Master Hoi, a name that has been mentioned in uttermost respect since the beginning. Master Hoi is a parody of kung fu masters throughout the seventies but with too short mustache. He is also a weird pervert so from here things gets awkward in a retarded type of way and especially the masturbation-scene, that part really split up the entire movie that actually had a pretty stable foundation until the rape and oddities came up.

And yes I am well aware of that Japanese movies are filled with crazy rape and oddities but this just put a wedge in between the movie and dumbified it unlike the Cat lll movie that boast out the extreme scenes and still have the same dirty feeling throughout.

Cruel Restaurant doesn't serve the splatter-platter either but luckily I didn't expect a great amount of it either, a few severed bodyparts (mostly heads) and nothing else noteworthly that makes the casual gorehound dig a memoryspace to restore the scene in. I thought that i was in for semething really funny, the whole menu that presented Cruel Restaurant looked like a treat but came out fad and tasteless especially when the predecessors already have topped some highranked culinary releases, even Bloody Buns worked more effective.

Sure there are some funny moments and Sakai Yamazakis nutty, personalityswaying performance was really entertaining but all in all when there are movies like China relesed in the 80-90s out there, this one just feels undercooked. I still want to know what the health-inspectors would say about the ending.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Directed by: Kôji Kawano
Written by: Kôji Kawano, Satoshi Ôwada
Produced by: Matt Greenfield
Cinematography by: ?
Editing by: ?
Special Effects by: ?
Music by: ?
Cast: Mihiro, Sakae Yamazaki, Katsuya Naruse, Yûsuke Iwata,
Miho Funatsu, Toshiyuki Teranaka, Chihiro Koganezaki, Kêsuke.

Year: 2008
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 15min

Distributor: ADV Films.