Cold Fish

2011

Cold Fish

Critics Consensus

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76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,574
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Movie Info

From Sion Sono, the director of Love Exposure and Suicide Club. Cold Fish has won acclaim at both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. In the film, mild-mannered Shamoto's teenage daughter gets caught shoplifting. A generous fellow fish-store owner and his wife appear to help resolve the situation by having her work at their fish store. Too good to be true? You bet! Shamoto soon discovers the horrific truth about this seemingly perfect couple...who inextricably weave him into their grisly rituals. Inspired by true events, Cold Fish is a twisted, brutal, blood-soaked drama that reveals the underlying insanity of an ordinary man pushed well beyond the brink. -- (C) Bloody Disgusting

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Critic Reviews for Cold Fish

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (5)

  • A deliciously warped wallow in misogyny, depravity and dead-eyed manipulation, "Cold Fish" charts the twisted alliance of two tropical-fish salesmen with baleful glee.

    Aug 4, 2011 | Rating: 4/5
  • Cold Fish is wild, head-turning, stomach-churning stuff, and it makes a bracing addition to the overstuffed canon of serial-killer cinema.

    Aug 2, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Overlong, drenched in blood and rather like attending a school for apprentice butchers.

    Apr 10, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Sono orchestrates his tale with a skill that allows irony to match the horror and realism to dampen down the melodrama. Altogether, it's quite a feat.

    Apr 8, 2011 | Rating: 4/5
  • The grisly, absurd violence of the final hour puts a wrecking ball through whatever interest this film might have accumulated.

    Apr 7, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • A thoroughly boring and unimaginative viewing experience.

    Nov 7, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cold Fish

  • Jul 12, 2013
    Japanese horror is one of the best horror sources because of several reasons. First, psychologically, it plays with audiovisual cognitive dissonance, that is, give the audience a seemingly defenseless stimuli and create an environment of ease, for then betraying their feelings with the exact opposite of the film spectrum. This has an advantage: Japanese cinema has never cared about the international censorship, so the commercial standards to which audiences have gotten used to are challenged once more. <i>Cold Fish</i> is cognitive dissonance from beginning to end, not only the entire film (the first introductory 21 minutes until finally the film's title is displayed, against the 100 following minutes, until the orgiastically insane madness shown in the last 30), but also the sum of its parts (the film title shown with an aggressive red font and with a tranquil family background, the middle 100 minutes count with bizarre violent and sexual Japanese trademarks, etc.). Thirdly, nothing is more horrifying than real life. People complain about how slow it takes for the film to get started because of the drama contained throughout, yet rate it highly. The high rating is due to their subconscious enjoyment of the film given that the last chapter acquired a stronger force when a whole situation was created during the first two hours. <i>Cold Fish</i> is celluloid of contrasts "based on true events", which certainly did not stop Sono for applying his gory trademarks and the dark humor which makes you want to laugh and then go to Church and ask for repentance given the fact that you laughed. Do not miss this ride; it ranks as a strong 2010 delivery better than <u>almost</u> all films nominated for an Oscar that year. 85/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2013
    Twisted Japanese gore feat with a dysfunctional family. The Japanese do this stuff so well.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2013
    Cold Fish is a dank, dark and highly unlikable film...that I just so happened to really like. It sees a meek and feeble fish store owner, Syamoto, come into contact with a much more confident fish store owner, who gives his troublesome daughter a job. But things aren't as they seem once Syamoto is dragged through a world of sex, murder, disembowelment, business and crime. Syamoto is pushed to the very edge of his humanity by a group of depraved and sickening characters. Fortunately it's helmed by Shion Sono, one of the greatest handlers of dark material. He knows when to make us gag and when to make us laugh. We feel at ease with the material because it is so outside of our protected worlds (hopefully). The pace builds fantastically, from a slow beginning, as we are gradually pulled in to this grim reality, which is based on a true story. It looks at the role of men and women in society, and how the inability to handle emotions can spiral out of control. One of the most pleasant unpleasant watches of recent years.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2012
    After an excellent start, the movie failed to work for me as it went ahead. It just kept on getting worse. It's indeed an engaging thriller (based on real events) till it transforms into some sort of soft porno. The story didn't require this extent of graphic scenes, but that's my opinion (which highly matters, if not hardly). Besides, the time-stamp failed to work as a smart distraction. The twists are too predictable to be shocking; in fact, the effectiveness is negative. All that said, Denden's performance is incredibly superb. He holds it up amazingly even as the script falls apart. Won't be unfair to say that it's a terrific flick that goes terrible as it unfolds. Of course, just my opinion. Feel free to differ.
    familiar s Super Reviewer

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