Just because it's commercial does not mean it is conventional :)
I bought this film after seeing the first two installments of the Suicide Club Trilogy and Strange Circus, not really on impulse, rather, the idea that Sion Sono is my new idol, at least before going into this one... and then after, he cemented his standing! This is a new style compared to the others, and while it has a different look, a different feel, it still hits home with some of the original mind games as well as the killer story telling.
Initially, I was a bit turned away from this movie by both the premise and the reviews/previews, but loving both horror films and Sion Sono's work, I decided to give it a try, and I'll be the first to admit, there is some misleading stuff out there.
As you can probably guess, this isn't strictly one genre or another, but where most films that travel between genres fall astray and feel awkward, Ekusute floats gracefully though being a Thriller, Horror, Comedy, and Drama, all at the same time, which is probably a large part of its loss for appeal based upon descriptions... it's hard to capture it completely.
The story itself is quirky... expect an assortment of characters that are very unique, some personable, some bizarre, some distasteful, but all well rounded and enjoyable. The story itself is offbeat, but draws you in and keeps you there. There are several stories running at the same time, all separate and connected in their own way, but blended masterfully. There are several disturbing scenes, many comical moments, dramatic segments, touching times, a flow of suspense, and in the end... you'll have to see :) It does not disappoint, though I'd be reluctant to label it a horror film, because, you'll laugh through a great portion, maybe when you shouldn't be, but it's inevitable!
The actors all did a great job too, pulling off their roles to an off-beat tee. Chiaki Kuriyama, the lead, does a good job, this being the first role I've seen her as pleasant and charming all the way through; it was a nice change, and good to see her smiling! Miku Sato plays the abused daughter-in-law/sister-of-sorts and does great! . Kiyomi Mizushima, who you'll recognize as Kumiko from "Noriko's Dinner Table", is truly despicable; playing the sister that looks charming but has a sinister personality. Ren Osugi plays Yamazaki, and is so wildly out of his mind, he sets a new precedent for hair-fetish movie psychos, and many other psychos, too!!! You'll probably spot several other familiar faces, so keep your eyes peeled!
The DVDs themselves are great in this package. You get Disk One with the Movie, film trailer, and a couple other trailers for other films, the basics of any Disk One, but then in Disk Two there is a "Music Video" (which, by the way, would make the set worth it by itself), TV Spots (basically a bunch [no joke, a lot] of short commercials), Deleted Scenes, a Behind The Scenes, and a Q&A with Sion Sono himself. The film itself comes with 4 Audio Tracks: 2 English and 2 Japanese, and while the English Dub is par with any English Dubbing, the Japanese track is really what you should be listening to...
All and all, it's a great, crazy film with a nice release, and you can't ask for more, despite the fact that you'll be left wanting a lot more! We'll have to see where Sion Sono goes in the future, hopefully, very, very far!