What little narrative there is focuses on a trio of American students who travel to Japan and end up trapped and tortured by a vile family. And that’s about it.
Few films I’ve seen have been so incoherently constructed, so poorly made as this one. I’m almost impressed that everything seems to have gone wrong here. A terribly shot film, there’s bad CGI (never has CGI blood looked so bad and that is saying something), there’s shonky acting (no one comes close to good and so shall remain unnamed), there’s cheap practical effects. It’s all so unrelentingly terribly put together. No character is worth your time, no moment is interesting, none of the drama lands. It is a horror free of tension, atmosphere and, crucially, scares. The film lacks the vim-and-verve of better takes on this kind-of story and you will likely check out long before this film reaches its loathsome last act.
It is always great to see cultures crossover in cinema but not here. Neither an effective J-horror nor a particularly interesting tourist-trap genre piece, this film gives into the worst tropes of both American and Japanese cinema. You can’t even enjoy this in a so-bad-its-good kind of way as this film is mostly just incredibly dull as opposed to successfully bonkers or inventive in its naffness.
What makes this such a painful film to review is that for many involved this is their first credit. The directors, writers and the main cast have no other credits to their name. I desperately wanted to find redeemable qualities to this film, something I could say that made the endurance worth the viewer’s time. A performance worth seeking out, some interesting directorial choices, a haunting score, a sequence or two that show promise. But there is nothing here. My only hope is that all involved used this as a good learning process and come back with something significantly better. Do not seek out Tokyo Home Stay Massacre. Please. You have been warned.