If it weren’t for films like “Saw” this film would be just as much of a classic as Battle Royale. Both were based on a novel. Ten people who agree to take the same lucrative “job” find themselves locked in an underground complex and forced to play a murder game for seven days. Pretty standard stuff, however, while having similar concepts, The Incite Mill was nowhere as controversial nor suspenseful. The end result is the winner gets a huge sum of dough. It’s well known that people would do despicable things if offered a lot of cash. Unfortuantely, without an increase in gore, sequels and a Stateside remake are highly unlikely.
As a real life game of Clue, The Incite Mill would work if the viewer would not question the flawed plot devices. The main character played by Tatsuya Fujiwara is likable, smart and played very convincingly. Tatsuya gives his best performance I have seen to date, avoiding acting like any of his characters from other films and keeping you engaged and into the plot. So after analying all these elements the only thing left to ask myself was, who is the murderer? Who has the gun? As the participants spiral into paranoia, the ultimate survival game begins. Despite an inhouse arsenal that extends from nail guns to battle-axes, pic offers only mild violence. Even though the violence is turned down, the number of twists and the character diversity makes it pure pleasure to watch and the film is far from boring.
Thanks to the recent success of Gantz, every season there are always a couple of movies that tell the various groups of people involved in a deadly game hatched by some authorities. Hopefully there won’t be too many more made as the genre will become stale. The moment for the ghostly ladies with the long black hair has passed. But people still want to be scared at the movies. The Incite Mill is sometimes nicely staged and beautiful to look at, which result in a few individual scenes which can quickly rise tension, and he has maybe two or three surprises. It contains a critique about the sick state of Japanese society, including the online blurring between game and reality.
All in all, result offers relatively mild scares, though an eerie soundtrack makes for some uneasy moments. From a guy involved with Battle Royale, I expected a lot more. Instead of innovation, we instead the focus is on a sealed-off “game house” and the desperate stratagems of the players to emerge from it alive. On the contrary, it gets even more interesting once the contestants find out that their actions are being broadcasted worldwide, more people join the killing game and the suspicions start to drive the players crazy. Somehow I don’t think David Fincher will be directing the remake; as least not with the current script. Still, I enjoyed myself, so this film does what it sets out to do.