Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2018: Our Review of ‘Tokyo Vampire Hotel’

Toronto Japanese Film Festival 2018: Our Review of ‘Tokyo Vampire Hotel’

Adapted from a television miniseries directed by master filmmaker Sion Sono, the 2hr 22-minute condensed version of Tokyo Vampire Hotel is set to play the Toronto Japanese Film Festival this weekend. Emphasizing heavily on style in this edit, the question becomes is there enough substance left over?

Minami is a typical Japanese girl, out with friends celebrating on the eve of her 22nd birthday. Unbeknownst to her, she was fed ancient vampire blood as a newborn that has taken 22 years to develop, her blood is sacred. Feuding vampire clans the Corvins and the Draculas are hunting for Minami. After a massacre in a tea shop that leaves everyone dead, Minami gets drawn further into the blood feud, while K and Yamada fight from either side to claim her for their clan’s victory. All this happens while the world is set to literally explode and the Corvins have filled a hotel full of humans in hopes of gaining a viable blood source for the coming apocalypse.

If this description sounds convoluted, its because it is. The herculean task of attempting to condense a 6hr 30-minute mini-series into a film that’s barely a 3rd of that running time and making it make sense is one that probably should not have been attempted. The first act of the film is great, Sono’s expertise is evident and his flair for directing action is on display. But once off the streets and into the secret world of the vampires, the film jumps off the rails. And all the scenes involving the humans trapped in the vampire hotel feel completely out of place.

Without the context that surely is lost during this conversion, the film falls apart as it reaches it conclusion (a completely different conclusion than the TV series apparently). For those who will experience Sono’s filmmaking for the first time with this film, I feel truly sorry.

This post was written by
Comments are closed.