The film is based on the bestselling novel by Seishi Yokomizo. When the wealthy Inugami patriarch dies leaving a huge estate, their lawyer hires detective Kindaichi as a series of mysterious murders befalls the family--from attempted drownings, poisonings, to beheadings. A web of deceit, adultery and greed is revealed as the family gathers for the reading of the will, and the race for the inheritance turns even deadlier.
Many years ago, Kindaichi Case Files (金田一少年の事件簿) was one of the most engaging whodunnit murder mysteries on TV. There’s Tsuyoshi Dōmoto (of the KinKi Kids fame) who played Hajime Kindaichi and his tagline before solving the crime would always be “By my Grandpa’s reputation, I’ll solve this mystery” (or something along the line).
It had always been intriguing for me to find out why did he said that and the identity of the mysterious Grandpa who had never appeared in the TV series. It turned out that the creator of the Kindaichi Case Files took liberties from renowned mystery novelist Seishi Yokomizo’s famous fictional Japanese private detective Kosuke Kindaichi (from the 1940s period to the 1980s) and depicted this young Hajime Kindaichi as the grandson (without permission). It seems that our esteem reviewer made a mistake in his movie review; mixing Tsuyoshi Dōmoto’s version of Kindaichi with this Kindaichi.
There are plenty of similarities between the murder mysteries that these two Kindaichi attempt to solve. They are basically filled with multiple seemly impossible murders that have one character dropping dead one after another. The murderer(s) often committed the act for emotional reasons than for financial one, making the killers rather sympathetic than those cold blooded psychopathic serial killers. The final revelation would often have the super detective explaining who is behind the killing and how it was done.
Murder of the Inugami Clan also provided some insight to the original Kindaichi and dug out some differences between those two super detectives. While the modern Kindaichi is well dressed, the older Kindaichi seemly is not concern of his unkempt appearance and hygiene. His mannerism and even his choice of exit help build an eccentric intelligent crime solver image.
Even the approach of telling this tale was different from the more flashy Kindaichi Case Files. This Kindaichi’s tale was told in a slow approach which could drive some impatient viewers up the wall. There are also quite a few detective works that occurs off screen and was only told during the final revelation. Without all the clues being presented on screen, the viewers weren’t able to play detective and guess the murderer effectively (which was part of the fun in watching the TV series, attempting to pick up all the clues). The unseen detective works also meant that Kindaichi’s character ,is often pushed to the background and seen as a supporting character during most part of the movie.
But otherwise, all the twist as turn that could be expected from a whodunnit movie was satisfyingly presented here. The manner how it lovingly handled it’s character made one wish that there are more installments of Kindaichi’s adventures in such format.
This Code 3 DVD contains no bonus features.
As a dialogue filled movie, Murder of Inugami is punctuated with sudden loud music to emphasize certain important events that unfolding. It much louder than the dialogues that went on in this movie which either got give you a nice surprise or a nasty shock. Beware of the audio level while playing this movie.
Murder of Inugami presented the rich cinematography of old Japanese cinema mixed with the lushness of modern filming technique. The combination of both styles is effectively presented in this dvd.
Review by Richard Lim Jr