10:27 - 24th August 2015, by NEO Staff

The Happiness of the Katakuris

The Katakuris only want to be happy, and in Takeshi Miike’s genre-bending film, this task is almost impossible for the family. Having moved to the countryside to make a better life for themselves as managers of a rustic mountain inn, the Katakuris must try and keep things together as their customers begin to suffer sudden and bizarre expirations, only to later become part of the undead.

Based on the South Korean black comedy The Quiet Ones, The Happiness of the Katakuris is a film that can only be described as a mash-up between The Sound of Music and Dawn of the Dead, and it is as surreal as it is amusing. Bursting with psychedelic musical numbers, stop-motion animation, and zombies, it is hard not to laugh at the family’s troubles.

The film takes inspiration from a variety of horror tropes, and the cast does well to make sure the erratic effects, unusual dance numbers, and exaggerated reaction shots are humorous rather than tedious. While it is often easy to lose the plot in Miike’s comedy-horror (much like the principal characters after each client’s death), their desire to support one another creates an emotional backdrop to the chaos. At its core, Miike’s film is about family values and the sacrifices of the four generations of the Katakuris – their touching relationships and ability to stick together in the face of adversity providing a heart-warming, albeit deranged, narrative.

As bizarre as it is heart-warming, Miike’s horror-musical about a family’s search for happiness is charming.
SCORE: 3/5
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