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Re/Member - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Karada Sagashi

Japan 2022

Horror, Mystery, Drama

Eiichiro Hasumi

Kanna Hashimoto
Gordon Maeda
Maika Yamamoto
Fuju Kamio
Kotaro Daigo
Mayuu Yokota
Shuntaro Yanagi
Naomi Nishida
Tasuku Emoto

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Re/Member - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Asuka (Kanna Hashimoto) is a loner at school, and no one ever talks to her. However, one night she suddenly finds herself at school, along with some classmates: sports hotshot Takahiro (Gordon Maeda), popular girl Rie (Mayu Yokota), Shota (Kotaro Daigo), who is always bullied, Rumiko (Maika Yamamoto), who has a relationship with an older boy, and Atsushi (Fuju Kamio), who hasn't been to school for a long time. None of them know what they are doing there, but they quickly find out that the vengeful spirit of a girl walks abroad at the school grounds. The students get murdered one after the other, but the next morning Asuka wakes up and the school day starts anew. The classmates who died the night before in the strange parallel world are the only ones who remember having experienced the day already. The following night, they at least know what to do. They have to find the girl's body parts on the school grounds before the spirit kills them. But this doesn't turn out to be that easy, and so their day keeps repeating itself again and again. Nevertheless, the six slowly start to get closer and they eventually manage to forge a plan to find the girl's body parts. The only problem is her head, which was never found in the real world either...

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Review: "Re/Member" didn't get a lot of love from critics, and that's justified. But even though a large part of the following review will highlight the movie's countless shortcomings, I actually enjoyed this Netflix flick more than I expected. Maybe this was due to the fact that my expectations were lowered beforehand, but the movie also has a certain B-movie charm that may actually win you over. For example, there is the tone, which keeps going back and forth between horror and carefree high school drama. Because after the initial deaths, "Re/Member" starts to focus more on the friendship building up between the students. Of course, that cannot work particularly well, because the characters are quite one-dimensional, but it still manages to provide the movie with a few peculiarities which almost give it some kind of personality.

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For the sake of fairness, though, it must be said that the variations in tone can also be seen as a major flaw. In fact, I would have enjoyed it much more if the flick had completely overdone it in that respect, instead of taking itself seriously. For example, the students die horribly at night, but the following nights they seem to take things more and more chill - as they will wake up on the same day anyway - which means that the flick loses its horror element. But why exactly? Shouldn't they still be afraid? After all, they feel pain, and some of the deaths just have to be unpleasant. Halfway through, however, the movie becomes more and more carefree, but without making fun of its own genre, and a story about friendship unfolds. Of course, towards the end of the flick, the horror element comes back to the fore again. And the stakes get higher as well.

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The story is also a big problem. The movie is actually based on the web novel "Karada Sagashi" by the artist Welzard, but there is no common thread. Plot holes can be found everywhere, clichés are used (the heroine trips at exactly the wrong moment or hesitates in the most inconvenient situations), and the connection between nightmare world and reality is not clear either. And when the students' investigation of how the little girl died, whose restless spirit haunts them, unfolds during the day, you don't even know how this is all supposed to fit together anymore. You expect having to deal with not getting some answers anyway, but the story doesn't manage to develop the characters well enough, so nothing really seems rounded off. Even though Kanna Hashimoto, also seen in the Netflix movie "Violence Action", anchors the events, neither she nor the other actors manage to give the individuals any depth.

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At least the characters are quite energetic which also becomes apparent in some light-hearted scenes, such as the one on the beach when the students are goofing around. But then you wonder, especially when it comes to the cheerful background music, whether this is still supposed to be a horror movie. It is also a pity that the day constantly repeating itself is not used for creating any special scenes. We just get a reset. But whenever we're not in a teen drama about friendship, director Hasumi Eiichiro ("Assassination Classroom") manages to establish a pleasantly dense atmosphere. The "Red Person" is quite creepy, and the gloomy images create a nice vibe, to which the deaths also contribute. Still, "Re/Member" is by no means exceptionally brutal, as we only ever get to see the end result of the carnage. But this also means that viewers who are drawn to the genre exactly because of its special "kills" will not get their money's worth here.

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While the movie clearly becomes weaker in the middle, the finale manages to make up for it again. Here, everyone has to work together in order to eliminate a pretty original monster. Especially this monster is weirdly well-done, but also has an 80s B-movie charm to it. So, it's still a question of taste what you think of it, but the practical effects are definitely more than welcome. In the end, "Re/Member" manages to be quite entertaining, and technically it is pretty well-done too. The images look polished, and the director did a good job. But the script is a disaster, and in terms of its atmosphere, the movie takes place in two different genres. As mentioned before, though, you cannot simply call "Re/Member" a bad movie either. If you can handle some B-movie charm, you will be able to have some fun here. But the flick does not do well enough to get a recommendation.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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