1999 / 96m - Japan
Enbalming poster


March 28, 2022


A more straightforward horror film from Shinji Aoyama, that clearly shows the influence from mentor Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Like many of these late 20th century Japanese horror films, there are strong police procedural elements, mixed with psychological horror and some twisted human behavior. The film is certainly effective, but doesn't really manage to stand out.

Miyako is an embalmer. When she is working on the body of Yoshiki, a young boy who presumably committed suicide, she notices some strange needle marks in his face. Things get weirder when someone breaks into her work place and steals Yoshiki's head. Miyako joins the police investigation and hits a mysterious body parts trafficking group.

Don't expect too much straight-up horror, instead Aoyama shoots for a disturbing and alienating atmosphere. It's all rather expected and the police case isn't quite as exciting as intended, but there are some memorable moments that are sure to stick in your brain. Not one of Aoyama's most remarkable films, but a solid addition to his oeuvre.