Every once in a blood-red moon, horror fans get a little treat. They see a weird trailer or tagline for a movie somewhere and decide to check it out just for kicks. Maybe it'll be hilariously awful, or maybe it will at least dispatch with the lives of its characters in creative or shocking ways. Then, despite the odds, the movie actually turns out to be good.
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge, a Japanese Horror-Rom-Com released March 30th, is one of these movies. Yosuke, a rather moony young man (Hayato Ichihara) is suffering quietly after the death of a good friend (Haruma Miura). One night, after barely escaping getting caught shoplifting, he happens upon a sad young woman (Megumi Seki) and offers her a ride home. He shortly experiences another near-miss as he is almost killed by her nightly arch-nemesis, a gigantic chainsaw-wielding maniac from the moon. Being quixotic if not a bit cowardly, he decides to attend each fight and help her defeat the monster once and for all, hopefully winning her heart in the process.
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge manages to avoid most of the pitfalls of recent horror movies. It's tightly directed; it doesn't waste a lot of time with unnecessary exposition and there really aren't any throw-away scenes. A lot of the action uses CGI, but it's very good CGI and while some of it looks a bit cartoonish, it's never distracting. The comedy works well, too, especially Yosuke's mixed-up priorities in every situation, and references to such disparate movies as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Tron are well-timed and never forced. To directly explain the major metaphor in the movie would be to ruin it, but the makers of the film do kind of whack you over the head with it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; the metaphor is so clever that it doesn't really matter, and it's sort of fitting being that it has to do with the way angsty teens blow up their personal struggles to monstrous proportions.
There are no knocks against the movie other than it might not be exactly what the butcher ordered for serious gorehounds. The DVD has a dearth of features, the only one being a delightfully non-sequitur (if not somewhat boring) music video making-of feature.
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge is available for rental at the Collins Road and 16th Avenue Blockbusters and the 32nd Street and C Avenue Family Videos.