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SUICIDE CLUB
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Sion Sono

Starring:
Ryo Ishibashi
Akaji Maro
Saya Hagiwara

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
When a rash of suicides begin happening all across Tokyo, the police force try desperately to find out why. And the closer they get, they realize there could be someone... or something causing the deaths?
Is it good movie?
After watching Suicide Club I decided to wait before I wrote this review. There was something not right. I really didn’t dig it because it seemed to be lost in translation due to the Japanese culture and how much of a role it plays in the film. But after sitting with it and not being able to get it out of my head I realized something… there is much more to this flick than meets the eye. In the opening sequence at a train station, people gather to go home or possible go to work or school. There is a sense of “ordinary life”, so much that it looks like a documentary. But we soon realize something is wrong and I mean REALLY F*CKING WRONG. I won’t give away what happens aside from the fact it has to do with several girls killing themselves. It is one of the most surreal and disturbing moments that I’ve seen in recent years. It’s not that it is overly gory (although the bloody goodness is abundant in this flick), but it seemed like it could have been in the news and I’m sure something like it has before. After that, there are several more suicides, some are utterly disturbing and others are just plain bizarre. But all the suicides are leaving the local law enforcement with horrible deaths with nobody to blame. Could it be the music they listen to? Parents who don’t understand? Or just the fact that it’s the “in” thing to do? With all these questions we realize that there is something dark and sinister at work here.

My original reason for having problems with this feature is that I knew very early on what could be causing the suicides, it is made pretty obvious. And I also had a problem with the lack of who, what, why and where that is given in the final reel. Just when you think you know what is going on it pulls a fast one on you. Although after thinking about it, it may have worked better than I had originally thought. For one thing, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Yes, the set pieces are really the “stars” here, because some of the images of suicide are utterly terrifying. Not in a general, slasher/scary way, but in a very real and organic way. So I knew that I would mention those fondly in this review. But the script seems to be too mystic, not revealing enough to really satisfy. This might turn many of you off of the film but I still couldn’t forget about the damn thing. And really, isn’t that what a horror movie should do? Get under your skin and make you just a little bit more cautious in a dark room, crossing the street or taking the train. There is a strong statement on the younger generation here and maybe the lack of clarity in the script was only trying to convey that. In life and in death there are no clear answers, especially in the teenage years where adults and most everyone else can’t seem to understand what you are going through. Maybe that is what this movie is trying to express. And in the end I bought it, with its bizarre musical numbers and a suicide club who seem to want something more than what life has to offer. But as the fictional band from Heathers called Big Fun sang, “Teenage suicide, don’t do it!”
Video / Audio
Video: Not a bad 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer. Not great, but not bad.

Audio: The 2.0 Dolby Digital keeps the sound of flying limbs pretty clear. Good stuff.
The Extras
The extras are really pathetic here because there is almost nothing here. We get the Trailer for Suicide Club (1:37) and all I need to say about that is, if you are going to keep the creepy fax machine in the trailer, keep it in the movie. We also get trailers for “Feed”, “2LDK”, Moon Child” and “The Danger after Dark Collection” which includes Suicide Club, 2LDK and Moon Child. We also get a nifty Stills Gallery. Come on TLA Releasing… you can do better than this.
Last Call
Originally, I was turned off by the seemingly unexplained reasons behind this movie’s structure; yet I ended up appreciating it for it was. Yes some of it may get "lost in traslation", but if you really want to see a disturbing yet imaginative take on what mass-suicide would do to a culture please check this out. There is a disturbing sense of realism here that sometimes walks a fine line between the realism portrayed and the fantasy and horror of death. This is a fascinating, albeit strange journey into what is youth and the helplessness felt at that age. Although some of the suicides are not teenagers, they are people who have lost some connection with the world around them. And yes, there is some pretty f*cked up gore. If you want a different kind of horror that deals with the cerebral as well as some seriously messed up murder set pieces, this club may be for you.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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