Too much gore, not enough depth

Shun Oguri (above) plays a detective hunting down a sadistic serial killer.
Shun Oguri (above) plays a detective hunting down a sadistic serial killer.PHOTO: WARNER BROS

REVIEW / CRIME THRILLER

MUSEUM (NC16)

132 minutes/Opens tomorrow/2.5/5 stars

The story: A woman is killed by ravenous dogs. An unemployed man who mooches off his mother is killed in yet another grisly manner. As detective Sawamura (Shun Oguri) digs deeper into the murders, a link surfaces to an earlier case of a girl encased in resin. Then, his estranged wife and their son go missing. Who is behind it all and what does he have planned for Sawamura? Based on the 2013-2014 manga by Ryosuke Tomoe.

It does not seem all that long ago (2005, actually) that Japanese actor Oguri broke out in the idol drama Boys Over Flowers as pretty-as- a-flower Hanazawa Rui.

Here, he plays a grizzled detective, Sawamura, a man stretched to breaking point by a sadistic serial killer who hides behind a frog mask.

While it is laudable that the 33- year-old actor wants to stretch himself professionally, Museum is not quite the ideal vehicle for doing so - it comes across as being more interested in the horrific spectacle of death than the psychology behind the crimes.

The gruesome murders are each described by the perpetrator as punishments, including "dog food penalty" and "feel pain of mom penalty". They recall the horrific murders and the deliberate way in which the victims were displayed in Seven (1995).

The titular museum is a twisted take on the concept by the killer, who envisions a series of bloodcurdling tableaux for his museum of horrors. Alas, the motivation behind his plan is cursory.

In other respects, director Keishi Otomo, who did a better job with adapting the period action manga Rurouni Kenshin, is too heavy- handed - from the repeated flashbacks to the over-the-top emotions spilling forth.

This is an exhibit of a movie that is too baldly manipulative.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2016, with the headline 'Too much gore, not enough depth'. Print Edition | Subscribe