Brutal – Japan, 2018 – reviews


Brutal is a 2018 Japanese horror feature film written and directed by Takashi Hirose (Moratorium; Bandaged). The movie stars Butch, Ayano and Katrina Grey.


Constantly on the hunt and suffering from hallucinations that drive his violent nature, an unnamed man is capturing women and killing them.

Meanwhile, a woman is luring men into a violent end, by way of her knife. Driven by the same force to make the opposite sex suffer, the killers’ fates intertwine. The two must face off in a battle to the death, in which they are forced to reveal the horrible truth behind their addiction to murder…


With a title like Brutal, there’s not much to expect outside of blood, screaming and well… sheer brutality. This delivers, and then some.

Japanese gore is one of the best sub-genres in horror. Similar to the French, they just know how to convey the utmost viciousness in every character created. Never disappointing the fans, Brutal fits nicely into this motif as it is broken into three chapters: ‘Man’, ‘Woman’ and ‘Man & Woman’.

 Man (played by Butch) is a psychopathic colossal monster who immediately enters the screen with cruel and vile acts geared towards several young girls he has clearly abducted for his warped pleasure. Each female is bound and gagged with tape, while their shrieks of terror overpower Man’s attack on girl number one, as the others watch in pure fear.

Man’s kidnapping continues and includes a beautiful American woman (Anna) portrayed by the amazing Katrina Grey. Grey once again extends her savage strength to fend off this monstrosity and doesn’t quit, until unfortunately succumbing to a rather grisly demise.

The assaults and violence are bloody and brutal as Man stays focused on his blind hatred towards women. There is no good-natured soul peeking out from within Man and he resumes all his murders with more and more intensity.

Chapter Two: ‘Woman’ (Ayano) begins in a similar fashion but this time… she is the enforcer. Taking men to remote locations and apartments, Woman launches her knife strikes with undeniable ferociousness. There is a small ounce of tenderness that is found within Woman at one point, and one might start to root for the pretty maniac. But alas, never forget she is still a ruthless killer that preys solely upon men, knocking that stereotype into the ground abruptly.

Chapter Three: ‘Man & Woman’… when they meet finally, strange cosmic energy feeds off each other without a single word murmured. And once Woman has entered Man’s domain, the battle between Man vs. Woman unfurls in a frenzy of cuts, stabs and slices. It is seemingly endless and extremely persistent as if they were gladiators duelling to the death.

Brutal is intense. It glosses over a dreamlike sequence of motive that comes striking full force in the end. Looking for a trippy plot twist? Get a load of Brutal!

Meredith Brown, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

“It is barbaric, but it is also fleshed out much more than most films that are similar in nature from independent filmmakers. Bravo to Takashi Hirose for making a great film, one that is oh so brutal, but also beautiful.” Repulsive Reviews

” …this one does take a bit of time to hit a proper stride but once it does, it’s surprisingly twisted and morbidly funny, turning from a standard atrocity exhibition into a cinematic freakshow that you won’t soon forget.” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!


Unearthed Films released Brutal in the US on Blu-ray and DVD on December 11, 2018. It is also available via Amazon Instant Video


Not to be confused with the 2007 movie Brutal, which stars Jeffrey Combs and Michael Berryman.

One Comment on “Brutal – Japan, 2018 – reviews”

  1. Great review, Meredith. Yes, Japanese horror isn’t about the violence, but about conveying the viciousness of the characters. This is one I missed, but found on Tubi. So thanks for the tip!

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