Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Bloody Day And Bloody Night: It's a Beautiful Day (2013)
Starring: Kkobbi Kim, Nanako Ohata, Akihiro Kitamura
Some of the best slashers out there play with the idea of absence to make itself creepy (if not scary) such as the absence of reason why Michael Myers stabbed his sister to death one Halloween night, or the lack of explanation how Jason Voorhees suddenly turned up alive when, all of these years, he was assumed dead. While reasons and/or origins would later come in through either sequels or reboots, one cannot deny that a good air of mystery surrounding a villain is a great key to work with to make them memorable, even more when everything else from the movie incorporates well with the enigmatic plot points.
For the movie I will be covering, that doesn't appear to be the case as, from the very first few minutes of this Japanese/American horror flick, Beautiful Day starts out as your typical slasher with two homicidal thieving brothers murdering a lost tourist couple in the middle of a deserted road. The familiar sub-genre footing continues when we are then introduced to Ah-Jung, a Korean student studying English in the States, who finds herself joining five party, booze and sex-obsessed Japanese students to a rented cottage in California.
Sticking out like a sore thumb, Jung tries her best to either get along or move away from her careless and care free companions, not knowing that the murderous brothers have now set their sights on snuffing the group, believing they have witnessed one of their crimes.
Now, it was halfway into the film or so that a plot point was added out of nowhere, when one of the brothers suddenly gains the ability to either possess or switch bodies. No clear indications as to what led to this supernatural power, nor did the film bothers to explain in the end, but it wouldn't be so bad of a turn if the direction tries to make something out of this, creating something positively unusual to this otherwise your typical slasher. (Maybe a more teen slasher-y Shocker (1989) or The First Power (1990)!)
Sadly, director and writer Kayoko Asakura failed to see the potential mayhem a body-switching slasher flick could have unleashed, choosing instead to have the understandably confused and body-swapped brother whine and shout at terrified victims for an explanation, while his more murder-happy sibling hacks his way through the cast while spitting racist venom, not knowing that one of them is really his lil' brother in a Japanese girl's body. To be fair, the story did eventually embraced the concept of a body-jumping killer, but this was around the last few minutes of the movie where the rest of the bloodwork happens, a tad too late but offering some nice gore work as a possible mean to make up for the missed opportunities.
In fact, Beautiful Day can be an okay horror flick if you can look past its many flaws apart from the unexplained supernatural angle, mainly the kinda distracting Japanese-versed English, the lack of any real sympathetic characters and the few under and/or overacted scenes. (One guy had his legs chopped into pieces, and yet he sounds like he just scrapped his knees) There's a generous abundance of practical gore effects and with the movie being only 78 minutes long, the plotting actually breezes through nicely despite a few bumps. The racism is pretty limited to just name calling out of the need to make the villains intimidating so I didn't find it as upsetting as it should be, but at least they tried to make a trait out of an otherwise standard axe murderer.
Honestly, It's a beautiful Day could have been better if it thoroughly understood what it really wanted to do with the sub-genre; on one part, I can tell they want something different with its inclusion of body possession, but they also seem unsure how to go with it on another. In the end, Day is just a forgettable and replaceable bloody outing that, fairly on its part, is still watchable for the grue and oddities, but nothing else. For more body-switching hokums, I may suggest the underrated The Ferryman (2007) if you want a bodycounting psychological run or Shocker (1989) if you're into some cheesy laughs.
1 male hacked to death with an axe
1 female beaten to death against a car hood
1 male electrocuted in a water reserve with a taser
1 male knifed to death
1 female dismembered and hacked with an axe
1 male hacked legless, gets an axe head kicked into his mouth
1 male hacked to death with an axe
1 male stabbed through the tongue with a razor, throat cut
1 female stabbed in the ear with a razor
1 female hacked to death with an axe