I recently had the chance to watch Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s early horror flick THE GUARD FROM THE UNDERGROUND (Jigoku no keibîn).
While not a great film, it is nontheless a must for K. Kurosawa fans as the roots of his style and themes are apparent from the start. While the script is fairly rudimentary, it does manage to get in some good social satire, while also allowing itself to be the B-horror movie it was obviously intended to be. Working on what I assume was an extremely low-budget, the film, while not particularly scary to this viewer, was still fun to watch. However, I would not recommend it as a starting point to discover the work of Mr. Kurosawa. For that, I would recommend both the brilliantly disturbing cop/serial killer film CURE or the phenomenally terrifying apocalyptic internet ghost story PULSE (not the American remake, please).
While GUARD is mildly entertaining, it is also the beginnings of a unique vision, albeit a rather clumsy one at times. But knowing what this style and approach grew into in later years, it then becomes quite fascinating to watch. But like I said before, mostly for those already familiar with the more refined works of Mr. Kurosawa’s ever-growing talents. Explore this filmmaker at the height of his career, then go back and take a peek at his roots in THE GUARD FROM THE UNDERGROUND.