asian horror

Dead Sushi (2012)


From director Noboru Iguchi (The Machine Girl) comes Dead Sushi, an utterly ridiculous zombie flick where the food feasts on you.  Inspired by such films as Piranha 3D and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Iguchi brought together his love of killer food and killer fish this rather ludicrous, yet entertaining, attempt at the zomcom genre.  Serving up a few laughs here and there, the concept alone is what carries this film; by the end, one wonders if it couldn’t have simmered a little longer before making it to the plate.




There’s some sexy nude bath scenes about an hour in and a good amount of underwear shots, but it’s fairly light in this respect.


A satisfying amount of blood, but not much in the guts department.  Legendary effects artist Yoshihiro Nishimura (The Machine Girl, Tokyo Gore Police, Meatball Machine) contributed to the effects, so while it’s not a total bloodbath, what’s in there looks pretty good.

Scare Factor

Zero.  This one’s just pure silliness.



Our tale begins with the clichéd old, Japanese master, strictly training his young daughter, Keiko, in the art of sushi making.  Utilizing a technique that blends martial arts with food prep, he seeks to “rid her of her femininity” because, you know, girls suck at everything.



Well to be fair, with no mother in the picture she missed out on the whole “not so fresh feeling” talk.

After one too many jabs about her chromosomal handicap, Keiko runs away from home and finds a job in hotel food service.  Proving that girls are also always catty and unaccepting of other females, the other waitresses there tease and shun her.  Between that and the businessmen with a penchant for grabass, poor Keiko finds herself in a situation not much better than before.  Meanwhile, a bum eating sushi out the trash out back murders a young couple with some strange, rubbery-looking, sentient squid-thing, just to keep you gorehounds on deck while all this exposition gets out of the way.

At an important dinner with the businessmen, Keiko dares to speak out of turn.  Put on the spot she lays into the house sushi chef, ripping him a new one in a way that would make daddy proud.  With his pride in shambles, the chef turns murderous, attacking poor Keiko with his massive sushi knife.


Sushi: pretty serious fucking business.

Soon the head businessman’s goons get in on the action, assaulting Keiko as a group, because naturally the sane response to a tiny girl disrespecting you is having eight of your friends beat the ever-lovin’ stuffing out of her.  And so begins Keiko’s Revenge (aka, a great video game title), in which a lifetime of male oppression comes pouring out in the form of high flying kicks, some clothes removal, and nut shots.  Still, she’s no match for the final boss: an angrier, beard-ier goon, and so steps in Nosaka, another businessman and the Prince Charming archetype of the movie, to save her at the last second with the power of his sexy winking.


When you’re this hot, you don’t need to learn how to fight.

Enter our murderous bum who reveals that he was once an employee of the same pharmaceutical company the businessmen hail from, fired due to his research in “reviving the cells of dead creatures.”  The hotel owner jumps in, shoots the bum “dead,” and then everyone leaves the room even though the bum clearly has a syringe of neon zombie juice in his hands.  He injects his squid sushi, which, in addition to giving it a thirst for human blood, for some reason embodies it with the power to fly.  The squid goes on to infect the rest of the sushi at the inn, and that’s where the gory fun begins.


If Elizabeth Bathory had been Japanese, I imagine it would’ve gone down something like this.

The sushi chases people around and kills them for a while.  Meanwhile, Keiko and Mr. Sawada (ex-sushi chef and the one person in the film who isn’t an asshole to her) befriend the lowly Tamago, or scrambled egg sushi, which was rejected by the other sushi for not being fish.  Identifying with the sad little outcast, Keiko uses it and its acid spitting powers (eggs do that, right?) to fight the zombie sushi threat.  Unaware that sushi is munching down on human flesh, the remaining businessmen party down with some body sushi, aka, hot chicks with food on ‘em.


Her tears of degradation only make the flavor that much sweeter.

Naturally, with all this naked flesh around, the sushi can’t contain itself.  Covered in the stuff, the two girls end up perforated with more holes than an unarmed black man engaging the police.



The zombie sushi hoard finally tracks down this final group of humans and a bloody brawl happens.  The remaining survivors escape to a barn in the woods, attacked not just by sushi, but by the infected humans who were bit.   Also some of the sushi have flamethrowers, because Japanese movie-making logic dictates that wacky > sense.


The final confrontation comes between Keiko, Mr. Sawada, and the evil sushi, now led by the bum whose zombie transformation left him looking more like a Power Rangers villain.  In the most ridiculous battle of a most ridiculous movie, Keiko finds herself having to overcome her inability to do anything right in order to save the day.  Let’s hear it for girl power!


As a tiny Japanese woman, of course you are.

Final Thoughts

It is easy to see the influence Attack of the Killer Tomatoes had on this little film.  The way that the sushi flies through the air, while cheesy in effect, appears to be intentional for that reason especially.  Being a kid that grew up on those types of flicks, it’s a nice dose of nostalgia with a uniquely silly Japanese twist to the comedy.

Dead Sushi is a fun movie, though I think it relies too heavily on the absurdity of its concept.  It would have been a bit better had it not been so generic in parts.  The characters are cliché and the plot is predictable; then again, even those flaws hold true to the spirit of the types of B movies it’s based off of.  Still, I found myself a bit bored with the romantic side plots and wishing that some of the death scenes were a bit more inspired.  Overall it just didn’t seem to fully deliver what it was promising.  I can appreciate a light, goofy flick and I won’t scoff at toilet humor, but this film just didn’t seem to have much else going for it.

That said, the acting is great.  Actress Rina Takeda shines as Keiko and has some very nice kung fu and nunchaku moves to boot.  Mr. Sawada (Shigeru Matsuzaki) is particularly funny and expressive in his role.  Plus, there are a few scenes of martial arts combat that are choreographed quite well, which always gets points from me.  I say give this one a rent … though you may want to keep a bottle of sake by your side.


Score: 6.5/10, funny in parts, gory in parts, a bit too absurd throughout


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