On sale 26th March from Third Window Films, directed by Eiji Uchida.
Love and Other Cults follows Ai, a girl who is neglected by her religious mother to the point of abuse, and finally dumped into a weird love-cult. Growing up in the cult for seven years, Ai is adored and worshipped by everyone, and life is good. But when the cult is disbanded after its leaders are arrested, Ai is woefully unprepared for living in the “real” world. As a teenager, she quickly ends up in a life of drug use, prostitution, foster homes, street gangs, and yakuza, only finding a personal foothold for herself when she becomes a porn star, adored and worshipped once more.
Eiji Uchida is not a stranger to Infernal Cinema, as the gory Greatful Dead (2013) was reviewed on the site some years ago. Since then he has made several more movies with Love & Other Cults getting a UK Blu-ray release from Third Window Films (who are also not strangers to this site).
As is Eiji’s style this is a zany, whacky, violent and sometimes outright silly movie.
The central character of Ai is the most interesting thing within the movie, though. The power that Ai holds over nearly every other character could perhaps be one of the titular ‘Other Cults’. Everywhere she goes she manages to make herself an integral part of others lives or firmly ingrains herself into their lives.
She becomes the adopted daughter to the parents of her friend, only for the parents to treat Ai as if she is the favourite child. She gets involved in the world of softcore porn where not only do the fans love her but so do the directors and producers. The way in which people need Ai around them is similar to the effects of a powerful drug.
While the plot does concern itself with the lure of Ai there are a few other subplots. There are the numerous fight scenes between two rival, low rent crime gangs, the strange love story between Kenta (played by ‘Anthony’) and the cute girl that loves photographing fish and others. Some feel as if they don’t finish on a satisfactory note although the deleted scenes on the disc at least fill in some of the gaps for these stories.
Sairi Ito is an impressive young actress, who has been acting since 2005 aged 11. She has also appeared in the excellent Lesson of Evil (2012). She appears throughout the feature in various costumes and wigs for the various scenarios her character finds herself in.
The most noteworthy of the special features are the deleted scenes and alternative endings. There are two different endings, labelled ‘option A’ and ‘option B’, with this reviewer thinking that option A is a far more fitting ending than what was used for the actual film.