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Original Title:
Gusha no bindume

Japan 2004

Horror, Sci-Fi

Hiroki Yamaguchi

Luchino Fujisaki
Yoshiichi Kawada
Ryosuke Koshiba
Kae Minami
Yuuka Nakabo
Ikuma Saisho
Yuuna Sotohara

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The Bottled Fools

aka Gusher no Binds me; Hellevator

Story: After a catastrophe, mankind is forced to live underground, under reign of a Big Brother state. In this society, schools, offices and institutions are distributed over different floors, according to their area of work.
Luchino (Luchino Fujisaki), a young college-girl, lives in this society and has a special liking for cigarettes, which aren't allowed in this Big Brother state.
As Luchino gets caught with a cigarette, she flees to one of the elevators, which serve as a transporting device between the different floors.
On her way to the school- and university-floor, some very strange figures enter the elevator. Soon we find out that Luchino seems to have telepathic skills. In addition, horrible memories of her father haunt her.
But that is just the beginning, for the nightmare just starts as some dangerous criminals unexpectedly enter the elevator, manage to free themselves and cause several deaths...

Review: "The Bottled Fools" is an insider tip for horror and thriller/suspense fans. After the first ten minutes you expect a more or less average movie, but then Luchino enters the elevator. The whole rest of the movie takes place in this elevator and you realize that there actually will be some very interesting twists.

At some points it gets quite obvious, that "The Bottled Fools" is a low-budget-production, but with help of extraordinary stylistic means, some pretty nice special-effects and a brilliant colouring, this fact gets retouched pretty well. Not only the illumination of individual scenes, but also the setting makes you notice some parallels to "Brazil" or "Twelve Monkeys". With all available means, the director Hiroki Yamaguchi tried everything to make the movie, visually look as impressive as possible, and he succeeded.

The movie almost exclusively takes place on those few square meters, and it is obvious that the psychological aspects in "The Bottled Fools" play a big part. Apart from Luchino, who seems to hide a secret, the other characters are mysterious, too. We have a businessman, who has a case full of money and gets nervous, when he thinks of getting saved by the rescue service. We also have a woman with a baby, who just came from shopping and seems to hide something. We have a young guy, who keeps his headphones on over the entire movie, even as the dangerous criminals cause a bloody massacre (!). And we have an employee, who controls the elevator and who always behaves according to her role, therefore only "complains" about the dangerous criminals, as they want to start their massacre, and thus she asks them, not to disturb the other passengers!

It is always interesting to see, how different characters react in extreme situations, or how they don't react, and which actual motives are to be found behind their behaviour. Especially this psychological horror is appealing about the movie. Throughout the story we also find out, that the dangerous criminals are not the only ones, in this elevator, to be suspicious. Every passenger seems to have his skeletons in the closet…

As everything happens on very little space, the action-sequences are cut very fast and sometimes are very brutal. Therefore, you should expect quite a lot of blood. Nevertheless, the movie's intensive suspense, is mainly a result of the character's interactions among each other. You never know what happens next and the following surprise, is already waiting. However, you shouldn't expect to get an entire resolution. Much stays unsolved and some things just have to be accepted. But a real fan of Asian movie-art should, by now, be used to that.

Besides the director's excellent work, the actors are very convincing, as well. And this is necessary, for the movie lives on the character's human relations and the depth that appear in their soul.

With "The Bottled Fools", Hiroki Yamaguchi created a visually and narrative impressive horror/suspense-movie, which with its end also manages it, to set the viewer thinking.
The good thing about low budget productions is, that you have to concentrate on good ideas and their realisation, rather than on special effects and famous stars, to reach the audience. "The Bottled Fools" proves this theory and rightly so isn't just a hot tip in Japan.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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