This week for the Halloween Horror reviews, I’m continuing where I left off with Iria: Zeiram the Animation, with the live-action film that came before that movie – Zeiram, and which also is more of a horror work than the anime was.

Cast and Crew

Yuuko Moriyama as Iria
Kunihiro Ida as Teppei
Yukijirou Hotaru as Kamiya
Masakazu Handa as Bob (voice)
Mizuho Yoshida as Zeiram
Yukitomo Tochino as Murata

Directed by Keita Amemiya
Written by Keita Amemiya & Hajime Matsumoto

Available from Amazon.com & RightStuf.com

The Premise

Teppei & Kamiya are two ordinary electricians working for a power company. While checking out a power tap at an abandomed building, they run into Iria, an alien bounty hunter (who outwardly looks human), who has come to Earth to stop an alien monster called Zeiram. The two end up caught in the crossfire.

High Points

Zeiram itself is an interesting mix of the Terminator and the Predator. It has the Terminator’s slow, methodical pace, and the Predator’s array of high-tech toys. Additionally, Teppei and Kamiya could have been incredibly annoying caricatures. However, they’re far more likeable than I thought they’d be.

Low Points

The film’s budget really shows. While Zeiram itself and the films props and effects are very well done, the locations and absence of sets are where things fall through. By way of explanation – the “abandoned factory” is to Japanese film and TV what gravel quarries are for Doctor Who, though they use some of those too.

The Scores

Originality: This is a movie that borrows from a few other monster movies, but brings a few ideas of its own to the table. 4/6

Story: Very basic, but executed well. 3/6

Effects: Considering the film’s budget, the effects are quite good, though they aren’t exactl ambitious. I’d compare them to the effects from  The Terminator, minus the Future War sequence. 4/6

Acting: The acting is in Japanese, which I don’t speak. However, it generally seems pretty good to me. 4/6

Production: The props are very well done, and the editing and location selection gives the film a really good sense of geography. 4/6

Emotional Response: There’s some serious peril around the electricians, but otherwise the the final outcome wasn’t in much doubt. 4/6

Overall: This is a good little Japanese SF film. It’s not as spectacular than, say, the Godzilla series, but it’s worth a watch.

In total, Zeiram gets 27 out of 42.

Weekend of Oct 11: Friday the Thirteenth (1980)
Weekend of Oct 18: Zeiram (1991)
Weekend of Oct 25: ???
Halloween Day: Ghost Hunt (2006)