VISITOR Q (2001) – The Dungeon Review!

Takashi Miike is one of Japan’s most interesting directors working today. More accurately, Miike is one of the most interesting directors working today in any country! Miike’s director list is huge, and I must admit that there are numerous titles I have yet to see. His body of work covers a variety of genres but generally speaking you can count on the inclusion of violence. Some of my favourite Miike titles I have seen thus far are Audition (1999), Ichi the Killer (2001), The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001), Gozu (2003), Three… Extremes (Box segment) (2004), Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (2006), 13 Assassins (2010), Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha (1999) and the subject of this review; Visitor Q. Miike also did one of the best and nastiest Masters of Horror episodes; Imprint (2006). I have many Takashi Miike films still to see but I have enjoyed the man’s work enough to watch several of his titles multiple times.

I bought Visitor Q in Chinatown a bunch of years ago, and the DVD had no English option, but I watched it anyway. It left me glove-slapped and slack-jawed. If you have seen Visitor Q you’ll understand why and if you have not you are in for a head trip. I have now visited Visitor Q three times and it still messes me up. Visitor Q is definitely not a straight up horror film. It is more of a dysfunctional family drama with comedy, thriller, mystery and horror elements.

Visitor Q opens with a middle-aged man documenting the life of a teenage sex worker. The man proceeds to have sex with the teenager who we learn is actually his daughter. Visitor Q is a mysterious stranger who comes into this man’s life after bashing him on the head with a rock. Visitor Q comes to live with the family and changes their lives in various ways. As mentioned the film opens with a father paying his daughter for sex. At home a teenage son is beaten and bullied by a group of his peers and in frustration violently lashes out at his mother. Mother is covered in raw and painful-looking lash marks and limps from the beatings. Mother is a heroin addict who occasionally turns tricks to pay for her habit. In the end Visitor Q helps the family to re-connect and in their twisted way the family loves again as you will witness in the film’s sunshiny-disturbing final image.

While the family takes dysfunctional to new extremes they nonetheless represent a typical family unit at their core. A father going through a mid-life crisis, a mother running for the shelter of “mother’s little helper”, the teenage children estranged, distant and attempting to find their place in the world. A family unit we have seen in a dozen films before. Takashi Miike however shows the breakdown of the family unit in his own unique and twisted way.

Visitor Q himself reminded me a little of Coffin Joe. Coffin Joe is a character from Brazilian horror films portrayed by José Mojica Marins. Coffin Joe is an evil character who despises morality and religion. Coffin Joe taps in to people’s darkest desires and inspires them to embark on a path of sin and depravity. Visitor Q is a more public-friendly generic version of Coffin Joe but his goal is much the same. According to Wikipedia Visitor Q’s plot is similar to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema. Oddly enough I had borrowed Pasolini’s Medea from the library only a week ago. I have not seen Teorema so I can not comment on the similarities. I added Teorema to the library queue though so you’ll be reading a review soon. Visitor Q does in fact help the family find cohesion and happiness through their depraved acts. By the time the final credits role you will witness incest, necrophilia, violent death, copious body fluids and a family unit strengthened.

Visitor Q is done in a documentary style; which nicely complimented the dark material. The father is a television reporter whose current subject is today’s youth. He is, in fact acting as reporter in the opening scene where he has sex with his daughter. The film is stark and its flawed characters are exposed like an open wound. The voyeuristic nature of the film made me feel a bit uncomfortable at times. Miike balances these elements with humour, although it too, is of the warped variety. The actors and actresses in Visitor Q were called on to put themselves out there in a big way. The film is very well cast and everyone is perfect in their roles. Although I think Ken’ichi Endô and Shungiku Uchida who played the father and mother deserve special mention.

Visitor Q is an unclassifiable, joyfully warped curiosity. Visitor Q fascinates me, disgusts me, makes me laugh and even on a third viewing leaves me slack-jawed. Highly recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Takashi Miike

Starring: Ken’ichi Endô, Shungiku Uchida, Kazushi Watanabe, Jun Mutô, Fujiko, Shôko Nakahara, Ikko Suzuki

11 Responses to “VISITOR Q (2001) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. i love takashi miike films but i have to watch them alone.
    other people in my small world refuse to watch them.
    your dungeon is such a gift……….really enjoy all of your work !!!!!

    • goregirl Says:

      It is much the same for me in my small world also. I have two movie loving friends and neither of them are on board with horror. Before the internet I wasn’t sure if anyone with my tastes actually existed. It still warms my wretched heart to connect with people who appreciate what I do. Glad to make your acquaintance…and thanks for all the likes!

  2. stevemassart Says:

    Good review. I’ve had this in my watchlist for a while now. Need to move it up after reading this

  3. stevemassart Says:

    Oh and I also enjoyed Audition and 13 Assassins too 🙂 Need to see Itchi

    • goregirl Says:

      I think I’ve said enough about its unsavouryness to prepare you for Visitor Q. Might be interesting watching Ichi and Visitor Q back to back. You may never be right again.

  4. Despite the fact that I like Miike, I don’t think I can do this one. I just can’t. And it’s all because of one particular scene, which friends have described to me.

    • goregirl Says:

      There is nothing at all that qualifies as horror that I won’t put myself through. I sat through two August Underground films and the entire guinea pig series and discovered that I can in fact still be deeply disturbed. Good to know really. I like a challenge.

      That said, there are tons of films that I find disturbing that I would never in a million zillion years ever attempt watching; Eat, Pray, Love, Larry Crowne, Highschool Musical, He’s Just Not that into You, The Wedding Planner. Oh hell, I could go on for days and days and days.

  5. Hey, we’ve seen the same Miike films more or less – I’ve watched a few of his Yakuza ones like Deadly Outlaw Rekka. I watched this late at night on the Sci-Fi channel and was stunned.

    I wasn’t a major fan of this one but it is a fun and daring ride. The opening scene went from mildly pathetic to downright dark. The father is humiliated and it was painful to watch. I thought it was going to be a transgressive attack on social conformity but it;s a celebration of unity. With extreme violence. And incest.

    • goregirl Says:

      I didn’t mention Deadly Outlaw Rekka, but I have seen it. I thought it was aood, but not great.

      Visitor Q is not for everyone. It will be too nasty for some and downright repulsive for others. I would never watch this film with my mother.

  6. Hate this film. It’s just an endurance trial of appalling material and intentionally “extreme” taboo breaking stuff.

    I tend to like Miike as well, but this one is too out there, even by his standards.

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