Blu-ray Review: UNDERTAKER

UNDERTAKER (Sôginin – andâteikâ) was written and directed by Naoyoshi Kawamatsu and stars Tomoka Asano, Tatsumi Ishihara, and Yoshito Kobashigawa.

A deadly virus outbreak is turning the people of Japan into flesh-eating zombies. The government intervenes, trying to separate the survivors from the infected. Ryouichi, a young boy who has his family and friends destroyed by the undead infestation, becomes an assistant to an Undertaker… a person hired by families to kill loved ones who’ve been turned. Armed with a modified shovel and a bag, Ryouichi roams the ruins of Japan killing zombies and collecting body parts to prove to grieving families that their infected loved ones are now at peace. Director Naoyoshi Kawamatsu presents a moving story set in a horrific dystopian future with his independent masterpiece, UNDERTAKER.

The story for this 2012 Japanese survivalistic horror-thriller takes place during the zombie apocalpyse and centers around a young boy who was adopted by a lone undertaker after his family dies where he learns the same dangerous trade. The movie then fast forwards years ahead and continues to follow him as a young man where he’s taken up the mantle as this brave soul who becomes the undertaker.

What happens is, he gets hired by a family to search for their missing daughter (who’s become one of the undead) and give her peace. He’s the tortured soul who’s tasked with doing the horrifying dirty work and bringing back a body part to prove that he’s completed his mission. The young man battles it out with countless zombies where he finally locates his target and is able to finish his task so the family can rest that their daughter isn’t roaming the Earth forever as one of the undead.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio for this Blu-ray release.

Bottom line is, even though I’m completely burnt out on the zombie subgenre every once and a while something a little different will come along that breathes some new life into it and Undertaker ended up being just that. I liked the story and thought the small cast did a good job with their characters. The main character is a lot of fun to follow because he’s not only an undertaker but he’s continuously fighting off the undead while he searches for his targets. He also has a cool weapon to help him with his dirty work. And yes, there’s blood and gore to go along with it. Naoyoshi Kawamatsu has constructed a fast-paced dystopian thriller about this young man who becomes this undertaker for people who search him out. He’s kind of becomes a legend in his own time. I guess the biggest flaw is the short run time but at least the movie flies by because it really is non-stop craziness. Undertaker is now available on Blu-ray.

Distributor: Synapse Films

Run Time: 65 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: Aspect Ratio: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include a making of featurette, short film, deleted scenes, image gallery and trailer.

  • Farewell to the Precious: The Making of UNDERTAKER (56:04)
  • On Your Back – Original Short Film (20:20)
  • Deleted Scenes (01:24)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery (00:57)
  • Trailer (04:19)

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