Monday, February 19, 2018

Horror Film Review

Tag (2015):  Japanese weirdness that defies logic but somehow forces you to keep watching.  Probably because you expect the explanation to be forthcoming.  And because there's a shitload of gory deaths along the way.

Schoolgirl Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) is having a bit of a bad day.  A mysterious invisible force slices her school bus in half along with her classmates and then proceeds to chase her.  Sort of like in Evil Dead but with the music from The Walking Dead.  Seriously, I'm surprised there's been no lawsuit.  Anyway, Mitsuko runs through the woods, by a river, finds a change of clothes, and ends up at a school....where everyone wonders why she's freaking out.  Her friends calm her down, they skip class, talk philosophy, and then end up being gunned down by the psycho teaching staff that somehow managed to obtain automatic weapons and grenade launchers.  Mitsuko runs and runs and finds herself in a town in front of a police station...where the policewoman calls her Keiko and asks why she's dressed like a schoolgirl.  Then things get really weird.  Keiko dons a wedding dress, walks up the church aisle toward an upright coffin out of which jumps a pig-headed man with maggots in his mouth.  Her friend, Aki, from the school who'd been shot and killed appears in the church and in secret explains that she needs to fight and keep running.  So they fight and Keiko runs...only to later turn into a marathon runner named Izumi.  Other previously killed friends show up to cheer her on and attempt to explain just what the fuck is going on.  Turns out she's trapped in a video game of sorts.  A guy who had a crush on Mitsuko somehow obtained a sample of her DNA and her friends' DNA and created a bunch of clones.  Sort of.  It's really many years in the future and Mitsuko died long ago.  The only way she can stop the game is to do something utterly spontaneous and unexpected.  So she does. 

This is one of those movies that prefers style over substance.  Focus on cutting schoolgirls in half and all the resulting blood instead of creating tension through character development and coherent plotting.  It's too bad, really.  The potential was practically unlimited.

The Skinny

Acting:  Yuki Sakurai as Aki is fantastic.  Triendl as Mitsuko acts as if she's either stoned or half asleep.  I'll assume she was instructed to pretend to be in shock.  The girls who played Keiko and Izumi did better.
Story:  Bizarre yet interesting.  Could have used a little more interesting and a plotline that doesn't make you say, "WTF is going on?" every five minutes.
Direction:  Can't really complain although I'm sure the director could have inserted a scene or two that would have helped 'splain some things.
Production Values:  Filmed mostly on location...somewhere in Japan, I doesn't look bad at all.  There's a thing with red feathers that's pretty groovy.  No clue what the budget was, but I'd guess not more than a few million.
Gore/FX:  No skimping on blood and gore as you might expect when two school buses full of children are sliced in half lengthwise.  Likewise, no skimping on the CGI when needing to kill kids in new and interesting ways.
Scares:  None, which is a shame.  Not what they were shooting for, so to speak.
Ending:  It did end, thank God.  I was beginning to wonder.  How it ended, though, is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Verdict:  Should you see Tag?  If you enjoy subtitles, a confusing plot, and gratuitous violence, then this is definitely the movie for you. Personally, I'd recommend Sucker Punch instead.

Rating:  3 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment