Tokyo Vampire Hotel
(Sion Sono)

 A scene from Sion Sono's  Tokyo Vampire Hotel  {Photo: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO}

A scene from Sion Sono's Tokyo Vampire Hotel {Photo: AMAZON PRIME VIDEO}

Tokyo Vampire Hotel screens at the AMC River East 21 on Saturday, October 21 at 9:00PM. For additional ticketing information, refer to the Chicago International Film Festival website here. 

A theatrical cut of Sion Sono’s Amazon Prime Japan 9 episode miniseries, Tokyo Vampire Hotel, bares the obvious signs of a frayed, cobbled-together masterwork. Yet even at his most graceless, the director suffuses his work with a wonky energy that makes all his indulgences worthy of consideration. Here, he operates in a profusely campy vein that finds competing vampire clans at battle. It’s the sort of film that dispenses with its mammoth mythology at such a rapid clip all as it segues from one epic action chase sequence to the next. Much like with Sono’s previous films, I found the film’s chaotic opening passages to be transfixing for their propulsive, kinetic qualities. But as the film proceeds, those same qualities are repeated with less success. At over two hours, it’s too clumsy and overwrought to recommend, but admittedly there’s a lot of remarkable qualities to Tokyo Vampire Hotel – its lavish production design and boundless proclivities to violence – that demonstrate a master auteur operating at the height of his formal powers.