10:07 - 13th November 2013, by Calum Waddell

Eyes of the Spider / Serpents Path

These are two super low budget movies from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (of Tokyo Sonata and Kairo fame), both made in just a week. In Serpent's Path, a gangster is kidnapped by a grieving father, who believes him to be the murderer of his eight-year-old daughter. Along with an accomplice, the kidnapper chains up his suspect in an abandoned warehouse with the plan to torture and slowly kill him. But the two soon learn they might have the wrong man. As further suspects begin to surface, all hell breaks loose, and there is a war with various underworld slime - leading to a bizarre and unpredictable finale that cannot help but disturb.

Serpent's Path has a slightly odd strain of black humour running through it, which is sometimes at odds with the gruesome visuals on show - not to mention with the very dark and dingy conclusion. This cash-strapped wonder bears some resemblance to Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, but done on a smidgeon of the budget - however, even inviting such a comparison indicates that Kurosawa has made a movie of some worth.

Eyes of the Spider is, however, not quite as good. Once again, we have a man in search of his daughter's slayer. The film begins with the murderer caught and taped to a chair. He is beaten for three days and finally dies. This leads to some despondency amongst his killers until, finally, a job working for some yakuza lifts the boredom. There is also a twist in this tale, and Kurosawa drives his plot into horror film territory with a quite effectively eerie conclusion.

Both of these films look a little thrown together, but this only adds to the grimy atmospherics: they make for a rough ride, but connoisseurs of no-budget carnage should get their money's worth.
SCORE: 3/5
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