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Gozu Poster.jpg
Promotional release poster
Directed byTakashi Miike
Produced by
Written bySakichi Sato
Music byKôji Endô
CinematographyKazunari Tanaka
Edited byYasushi Shimamura
Distributed byCinema Epoch
Release date
  • 12 July 2003 (2003-07-12)
Running time
129 minutes[1]
Box office$58,202[2]

Gozu (極道恐怖大劇場 牛頭 GOZU, Gokudō kyōfu dai-gekijō: Gozu, literally: Yakuza Horror Theatre: Cow's Head) is a 2003 Japanese horror comedy crime film[3][4] directed by Takashi Miike and written by Sakichi Sato.


Ozaki, a member of the yakuza, kills a chihuahua outside a restaurant after becoming convinced that it is actually an attack dog trained to kill gangsters. The yakuza boss, seeing Ozaki as a security risk, orders Ozaki's underling, Minami, to kill him. Minami, reluctant to murder Ozaki, unwittingly kills him when a car comes to a sudden stop, breaking Ozaki's neck. After entering a coffee shop to find a phone, Minami returns to discover that Ozaki's body is missing, He then sets out to explore the nearly-deserted, run-down suburb of Nagoya in a desperate attempt to recover the body, only to find himself caught in a series of violent, bizarre, and increasingly surreal situations.



Shot on a low budget, the movie was originally planned for direct-to-video release on DVD, but its positive reception at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2003 secured its theatrical release overseas.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 72%, based on 57 reviews.[6] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film has a score of 58 out of 100 based on 19 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[7] In a review for The Washington Post, Michael O'Sullivan wrote that "'Gozu' makes little sense on paper. As a film, however, it somehow feels richly, hilariously real, even – at its most bizarre – familiar."[8] Ty Burr of The Boston Globe called it "creatively unhinged" and referred to it as "not your average midnight movie but something more hermetic."[9] Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel also reviewed the film positively, writing that "there is something compelling about the way this film sneakily taps into our collective psychosexual fantasies."[10]

A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that "For Mr. Miike's fans, it will be an indispensable compendium of outtakes and sketches. For others, it will be a mystifying and provocative introduction to his unnerving, wanton and prodigious imagination."[11] Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post wrote that the film "is not in line with [Miike's] best work".[12] G. Allen Johnson of SFGate wrote that the film "is for Miike freaks only (and you know who you are). Everyone else: Stay far, far away."[3] Jeff Shannon of The Seattle Times called the film "an undisciplined mess", writing that it "trades Lynch's nightmare logic for exasperating incoherence".[4]


  1. ^ "Anything But Banal; Takashi Miike on "Gozu" and His Ups and Downs". IndieWire. 29 July 2004. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Gozu (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b Johnson, G. Allen (17 September 2004). "FILM CLIPS / Also opening today". SFGate. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b Shannon, Jeff (24 September 2004). "Shockmeister's "Gozu" is supernaturally stupefying". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  5. ^ Mes, Tom (21 May 2003). "Midnight Eye review: Gozu (Gokudo Kyofu Daigekijo Gozu, 2003, Takashi MIIKE". Midnight Eye. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Gozu (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Gozu Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  8. ^ O'Sullivan, Michael (10 September 2004). "'Gozu': Weird Fellas". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  9. ^ Burr, Ty (13 August 2004). "Engrossing 'Gozu' veers off road of reality". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  10. ^ Boyar, Jay (10 September 2004). "MONSTER-MOBSTER MASH – GROTESQUE, GRIPPING". Orlando Sentinel. NYDailyNews.com. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  11. ^ Scott, A. O. (30 July 2004). "FILM IN REVIEW; 'Gozu'". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  12. ^ Hunter, Stephen (10 September 2004). "'Gozu': A Japanese Leap Into Strangeness". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2019.

External links[edit]