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Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2018) - Movie Review

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Gehenna: Where Death Lives - Movie Review

Movie Review

3 starsSaipan. Google it. The place is a dream. The ocean is the lightest color of blue and the island is a beautiful oasis of sun-drenched highs. Off the coastline of Japan, this place is a paradise for those who don’t realize the secrets its trappings hide. And the five fools headlining this expedition into the dark and the dank of a WW2 Bunker have no idea what they are in for.

You see, in the summer of 1944, this paradise island was levelled to a certifiable Hell on earth when an American force, leaving Pearl Harbor, landed on the Japanese stronghold armed to the teeth. A lot of rampaging followed. In just over three weeks, the brutal battle claimed 55,000 soldiers’ and civilians’ lives and those weapons – from tanks to cannons to skeletons and beyond – are still there, serving as a haunting reminder of some incredibly dark days of destruction.

And, as imagined by the writers of Gehenna: Where Death Lives, it did something to the island…

"the chills come alive and so too does the supernatural horror as the blackest of spells must be faced"

All of this history makes the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands the ideal place for a vacation to learn something … and a horror movie. And that is where the genuine creature-themed creepiness of Gehenna: Where Death Lives comes into focus. We have a picturesque island locale with a pretty ugly history that is easily uncovered. But what lurks below that in the shadows of all those bunkers? That’s what one team – scouting the place for a new resort – winds up finding out when they decide to go looking where they probably shouldn’t have.

With great and gory traditional special make-up effects and a tight direction from Hiroshi Katagiri (in his debut no less), Gehenna: Where Death Lives delivers in many places where most Kickstarter projects absolutely fail. Creepy to the last, this is a horror film built upon contrasting natures and it stays true. Of course, in an island so perfect and appealing, there would be some of the nastiest and filthiest creatures crawling just below its crust.

With featured performances from genre favorites Lance Henriksen as Morgan and Doug Jones as the creepy old man, Gehenna: Where Death Lives is a fast paced flick at the beginning. We are introduced to the cast – Simon Phillips as Alan, Sean Sprawling as Pepe, Eva Swan as Paulina, Justin Gordon as Tyler, and Matthew Edward Hegstrom as Dave – as they unwisely agree to investigate the unseen maze that is this uncovered bunker. What they uncover is the disturbing truth about this island’s REAL inhabitants buried deep, down below. You may not be prepared for the amount of twisted creatures crawling about.

With solid work by cinematographer Yohei Tateishi, the chills come alive and so too does the supernatural horror as the blackest of spells must be faced. I’m sure this real estate development group never expected that working for a 5-star resort could be so … ugly. While overlong, this horror film is on pretty solid territory.

Gehenna: Where Death Lives is in theaters across the U.S and on digital this Friday. It is distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment. Just know that curiosity kills.

Film Details

Gehenna: Where Death Lives - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime: 105 mins
Director: Hiroshi Katagiri
Writer: Hiroshi Katagiri, Nathan Long
Cast: Doug Jones, Lance Henriksen, Patrick Gorman
Genre: Horror | MysteryA chilling blend of American Graffiti and Psycho.
Memorable Movie Quote: "That's a real dead body."
Theatrical Distributor: Uncork'd Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date: May 4, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: Synopsis: Encompassing horror, suspense and a twist that will blow your mind, Gehenna fixes on five people who enter a hidden bunker from WW2, and realize it's way more than a bunker. Some fates are MUCH worse than death.

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Gehenna: Where Death Lives - Movie Review

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