Fantasia 2023: Our Review of ‘Mad Cats’

Posted in Fantasia 2023, Festival Coverage, Movies by - August 06, 2023
Fantasia 2023: Our Review of ‘Mad Cats’

Ancient catnip from the Egyptians, feline/female hybrids with extraordinary power and short tempers, a series of pet store owner murders, and a listless layabout who seems to have zero ambition all manage to collide in the insanity of Mad Cats. After receiving an audio cassette outlining where his missing brother Mune (So Yamanaka) is being held captive, Taka (Sho Mineo) sets out to free him. But the recording also warns not to leave without a mysterious wooden box and not to be seen. After escaping with the box, but not with his brother who he inadvertently leaves behind, strange feline-like females hunt Taka. After a mysterious woman named Ayane (played by Ayane) intervenes to save him and a homeless man Takezo (Yuya Matsuura), who has unwittingly become part of the whole thing, the trio sets out on the road with killers on their tail.

To say that Mad Cats is bizarre would be a bit of an understatement, but there’s an instant likeability to the characters and story that draws audiences in. Mad Cats isn’t a film that stops for a second to explain anything, as it only drops breadcrumbs along the way and leaves the audience to connect the dots. In the end, it’s bound to leave more questions than answers. But that also leads to what one would assume were some lively post-screening conversations.

The cast, a shout out to the gloriously stoic and extremely engaging Ayane especially, will keep audiences engaged and invested throughout the 90-minute runtime, up to the satisfying yet somewhat inconclusive ending. And some really fun staged action sequences don’t hurt either. Just watch out for the completely aloof and generally uninterested ‘Innocent Blade’ (Maari Iwata) who only cares about her own toy rather than anything else happening. As a cat would do.

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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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