Three American students; John (Alex Derycz), Sarah (Diana G.) and Spencer (Will Harrell) are spending some time in Japan. To get themselves immersed in the culture, they’re staying with a traditional Japanese family and really getting to know the feel of what an ordinary Japanese family is like. However, little do they realise but the family are all a little unhinged and as the tourists venture out of the bedrooms at night, the family strike.
Tokyo Home Stay Massacre is a Japanese horror movie with an entirely Japanese cast besides its three American protagonists. It also manages to give its presumably Western audience a full array of Japanese pop culture references which fans of J-horror, anime and even some of the seedier side of Japanese culture will understand.
However, the problem is that although some movies use non-English speaking characters without subtitles to add a sense of tension, Tokyo Home Stay Massacre doesn’t have any which could lead to some confusion as the actions of the characters aren’t enough.
As mentioned earlier there are many references to Japanese culture and without the use of subtitles it makes sense that none of the references would be subtle. The problem is that without the subtitles, a non-Japanese speaking audience wouldn’t know whether the movie is poking fun at an American audience’s knowledge of Japanese culture or whether it’s pandering to them by throwing so much of it at the screen.
Saying that though, by the final act the subtitles don’t really matter that much as it descends into a mess of ultra-violence which again references many aspects of Japanese pop culture, but doesn’t really add anything to the plot.
It would have been nice to know what was going on by this point and why anybody is doing anything, but it seems that the filmmakers don’t think the audience will care as they got this far.
The acting is also not that great, particularly Derycz who’s not so much chewing the scenery rather than punching holes in it to see if it looks better. It doesn’t. Tokyo Home Stay Massacre may be fun for those who want to spot references to Japanese pop culture, but with so much confusion, it may just leave the audience feeling frustrated.
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