Genre: Supernatural Horror Film
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Starring: Sōta Fukushi: Shun Takahata × Hirona Yamazaki: Ichika Akimoto × Jingi Irie: Amaya Takeru
Release date: October 18, 2014 (Rome Film Festival) × November 15, 2014 (Japan)
Running time: 117 minutes
Language: Japanese (With English Subtitle)
High school student Shun Takahata spends much of his time playing violent video games. One morning at school he whines that his life is completely boring but then he suddenly finds himself forced to participate in a game of Daruma-san ga koronda with death as the penalty for losing. When the Daruma doll turns toward the blackboard it exposes a button on its back that the students can attempt to press to end the game but if the doll spins back round and sees anyone moving then those students’ heads will explode. Everyone in the class but Shun dies in this first game.
After the game, Shun finds his childhood friend Ichika and they make their way to the school gym. There they play a game where students dressed as mice attempt to throw a circular bell into a hoop attached to the collar of a giant cat doll. Those who miss are killed. Amaya wins this challenge and enables the students to move on to the next challenge in a giant ice cube hovering over Tokyo. These cubes are hovering over many of the world’s cities and the games are being broadcast to the public with the survivors being dubbed “God’s children”.
Shun must keep winning a series of different deadly children’s games in order to protect himself and Ichika. He has no knowledge of who’s behind the games or what their ultimate purpose is. Meanwhile, a troubled classmate named Takeru seems to revel in the opportunity to cause the death of other students.
As what you would expect from a Japanese Film, this one’s weird – fascinatingly weird. A bored High School student ‘prayed’ for a different life and he got more than what he prayed for.
The movie consisted of 5 games: the remaining students would have to finish each game alive to proceed with the next.
Daruma-san ga Koronda: If the Daruma doll sees you move, your head will burst into red circular pebbles and die.
Maneki-neko: A machine-operated cat that eats humans dressed as mice. When the students figured this out, they took off their costumes but then it only made the mice eat everyone since there are no more mice to be eaten. In order for the game to finish, someone will have to shoot the circular bell into the cat’s necklace (hoop).
Kokeshi Game (Kagome Kagome): 4 Kokeshi dolls would sing the Kagome song whilst they move around you. You have your eyes blindfolded so you don’t know who’s behind you – and that’s how you will win the game – you have to guess who’s behind you among the 4 Kokeshi dolls.
Pure White Bear: The Bear will ask a question and everyone must be honest with their answers. If one lies, the group will have to figure out who the liar is and have the bear kill him/her. The game will finish if the liar has been killed.
Matryoshka: A game member (which was called the ‘devil‘) will have to capture 3 people for him to live. Since there are more than 3 people in the game, if the devil has been captured by the other member/s, the captured ones are released and the devil will die and the rest lives.
I like puzzling movies so my attention was caught by this film. Though I don’t understand the language, the subtitle made it possible for me to understand the story. The way the students die are very brutal so if you are kind of squirmish, this may not be for you.
The movie was well made (in my opinion) and the character’s acting are spot-on, especially the crazy guy Amaya Takeru (Jingi Irie). The graphics are almost too real. I actually wanted to have the Manga series so I can read more about it and of course, I’d like to know the original story.
Thanks for dropping by. See you on my next review! ❤