The Sinners of Hell (Jigoku)

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65%

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User Ratings: 1,236
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Movie Info

When a young college student had his sadistic friend leave a respected yakuza to die after inadvertently running him down on a lonely stretch of road, their fate is sealed in director Nobuo Nakagawa's Japanese horror classic Jigoku. Shiro's life seems to be going well; he's in love with pretty Yukiko and just received her parent's permission to take her hand in marriage. When his roommate, Tamura, runs down a drunken yakuza and refuses Shiro's plea to return to the scene of the crime and help the man, Shiro's conscience burns, and he soon admits his crime to Yukiko. As the two rush to Yukiko's father for advice, their taxi crashes and Yukiko dies in Shiro's arms. Overwhelmed by the tragedy that surrounds him, Shiro's life descends into a haze of alcohol and loose women until he receives word that his mother is gravely ill. Though he makes it to the senior citizens community in time to see her before she dies, Shiro is followed to the community by both Tamura and Yoko, a prostitute out to avenge the death of her yakuza boss. As Shiro is sent screaming into hell, his horrifying journey into darkness has only begun. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Sinners of Hell (Jigoku)

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (1)

  • Shot mostly on bare studio sets with a lighting style even more theatrical than the acting, it feels like a weird piece of fringe theatre in three acts.

    Nov 18, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • the film's bleak portrayal of sin and (maybe) redemption is easily adapted to any time, even if Nakagawa's particular version is unimaginable in any decade but the Sixties.

    Jul 10, 2007 | Full Review…
  • [Director Nobou] Nakagawa dazzles with his stunningly erotic-grotesque visualization of his interpretation of the lower depths.

    Nov 15, 2006 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sinners of Hell (Jigoku)

  • Nov 29, 2017
    Certainly not a film for everyone, 'Jigoku' combines visions of Dante, surreal art, nightmarish tortures, and of course, Japanese camp. Director Nobuo Nakagawa presents it all in a dark, dreamlike way, shocking us (mildly) with the death of characters in the first part of the movie, and ramping this up to really shocking us with his vision of the torments of hell. It's in these that the film is at its best. There are the scenes of gore which may have you cringing, but the truly memorable scenes are those which are artistic, such as the field of hands reaching up out of the ground, and the whirling torment of people circling in a frenzy. In Nakagawa's hell, there is both physical pain and mental anguish, as people endlessly seek loved ones or slog through rivers of pus and waste. Where the film is weaker is in providing reasons for why all of the characters end up in hell in the first place. While the initial setup of a hit and run accident is pretty tight, expanding this to a broader set of characters gets a little contrived. Through it all, the character of the dark and sociopathic friend is played well by Yôichi Numata, who stands out in the cast.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2012
    Jigoku or The Sinners of Hell is a film that time has forgotten which is a shame since it's a film that greatly explores the human spirit. While it doesn't hold up to well like many classics and older films, it's still a fulfilling watch and exploration on the idea of Hell. Jigoku is about a group of sinners involved in interconnected tales of murder, revenge, deceit and adultery all meet at the of Gates of Hell. The opening credits are quite bizarre, it shows Japanese women rotating with some weird combinations of sound effects like a running train and people screaming. The first two acts are very slow with nothing much happening. This is were the film most notable flaws are apparent as it makes abrupt cuts, like when our main characters tells his fiance parents their child is dead when it suddenly goes to a dance club. Another flaw is that our main character is the most accident probe leading character I've ever seen in a horror movie. He manages to accidentally kill five people which gives the plot some unintentional humor. Though by far the worst flaw is that these character are basically cardboard, which isn't entirely bad since the movie is trying to get across the deadly sins, but a lack of dimension in these characters won't change people mind about the way they act. The first two acts alone are superbly film, the cinematography here is simply great and some of the best I've seen in the genre in quite a while. The acting is overall solid with a good leading actor. If you manage to get through the first two act and make it to the final act will determine if the overall experience was worth it. The final act has us seeing the world of Hell for the first time in the film and has an unsettling feel about it. Without the use of CGI, the final act is contains some impressive visuals and effects to make this unholy place come to life. There's allot of flaming wheels in this place as well as showing some sinners getting torture. Though I do have to ask, for a demonic ruler of such a horrible world why is the ruler of the underworld name Emma? Aside from the ridiculous name for the demonic ruler of the underworld, the film does explore the deadly circles of Hell which does make you question what you know about our characters. I do like a different view of this demonic world and the film does shortly talk about it in the beginning of the movie. Now the last act is the best in the whole film, but even it does has some problem. It sometimes has some unintentionally funny facial expressions and some over the top acting despite where the characters are. Whether or not if this is a film worth pursuing is up to you. If you want to get a feel about the human spirit and get an idea of this evil world go for pursue it. Jigoku might not hold up well, but it does explore the human soul with great cinematography and gives you something think about after it ends. Jigoku is a gem of a horror film should at least been seen once since there's yet to be another horror movie that explore the same ideas as this one.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2011
    Breathtaking, boundary-pusher and relentless psychological shocker. The visionary perspective of hell is one-of-a-kind spectacle, bringing along a full orgy of visual torments that only Dante could explain to us with guidance! Yet, the first part is absolutely the most important as the narrative structure, although a tad unbelievable and dumb, tells us a tragic story of woe, errors, amendments and retaliations, hence making the second half of this three-decades-ahead-of-its-time masterpiece all the more impactful. 98/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2011
    A disturbing film with some truly terrifying visuals and themes. Shocking and thought provoking in equal doses, Jigoku is literally a haunting look at hell and all the suffering involved for those destined for it. Depressing and terrifying especially in the third act. The story focuses on morality and what awaits those that choose themselves over obedience to a higher power and focuses primarily, obvious by the title, on the negative side of morality. While the film has a more normal and easily conveyed opening and middle, it is the final part of the film in which the truly horrifying fate of the protagonist comes to life, and his torment rings deep, so much so that you feel it when sitting simply watching the film. If you like modern horror films, it is much different than the in your face gore and blood everywhere (although a particular scene involving an eye does have similarities), and plays more like a psychological horror film but has the terrifying images of Hell to force upon the viewer a feeling of insurmountable dread and despair.
    Chris B Super Reviewer

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