Director – Mario Cerrito III (#DrinkDriveDie, The Listing)
Starring – Wataru Nishida (The Porns, Japanese Borscht), Andrew Hunsicker (Bamboo Shark, House of Cards), and Zachary Pun Chung (Jade)
Release Date – 2020
Rating – 3.5/5
Social media is an invaluable resource for indie horror fans. Most no budget releases get no sort of marketing or press blasts. In fact, a good portion of the news I share on the site comes from the filmmakers, actors, producers, and so on contacting me personally to share their releases.
A few days ago I was browsing through Instagram when a page for the film Human Hibachi reached out to me about reviewing their film. I had received some news about this sometime back from a PR firm that handles no budget news so I was familiar with it but I had yet to see it. I went ahead and jumped at the chance to see it and I’m glad I did. I was really impressed by the film.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a man who is recording the entire day for his girlfriend to commemorate her birthday. He records everything from the smallest of tasks until they dinner date with some friends. This seemingly innocent day then takes a deadly turn when the menu suddenly changes. **Spoiler Alert**
I didn’t know what to expect from Human Hibachi but I did suspect it was heavily centered around cannibalism hence the title. I was not expecting the film to be laid out like it was. I really enjoyed it and can see myself tossing it in again but there is a few things I didn’t care for with it.
The acting in this one is hit or miss with me. I typically avoid found footage like films because the small talk and banter that many use to give the film that authentic home video look usually doesn’t work for me. I find it painfully awkward and I’ve seen so many amazing actors and actresses attempt this only to fail. Human Hibachi tries this approach so we get several minutes of awkward conversations before the film picks up. I will speak on the acting from this point forward. I really enjoyed the acting from this aspect on. The characters were very cliched BUT they built up some great personalities that made the film enjoyable. I really enjoyed the performances in the later portion of the film and how it was more grounded than the first hour or so.
The story for this one is pieces together in two sections. The first following the couple on their long day. This was a solid start to the film but the small talk and hearing the character recording the film narrate himself through each scene was a bit of a bore. It’s not until the second act that the film picks up. Here it does drag it’s feet but we find much of the film’s humor and horror. It works but doesn’t have to be as long as it is either. Honestly, the film could be trimmed down to an hour and it would be damn near perfect.
Finally, the film doesn’t shy away from the red stuff but it’s use of meat is what sends it over the edge. The film has several scenes with plenty of blood but it makes use of a restaurant to work in the meat for the cannibal angle. This really make the story work while using real meat. Overall, Human Hibachi may not be the best film I’ve seen this year but it was enjoyable. I could see myself spinning this one again with some friends and plenty of beer. Hell, we could even order out for some Japanese to get the full effect. I would highly recommend checking this one out especially if you are vegan!