The Japanese media has always been a thrill to watch for me. Growing up, I enjoyed a lot of animation from Japan. Today, anime is the selling point for many people when they hear about Japanese content. However, Japanese films and shows are also slowly setting themselves up to be a force to be reckoned with.
With shows like Alice in Borderland, which became the most-watched Japanese show on Netflix with over 61 million hours watched. Re/member is one such Japanese film that has recently arrived on Netflix. It is sort of a very twisted Groundhog Day. If you’re not familiar with Groundhog Day, it is a film in which the central character of the story is stuck in a loop. Something similar happens with the central characters of this film. Six high school students who, at first glance, seem to have been chosen randomly find themselves in a situation where every night they are transported to the school chapel. They discover a coffin containing the empty cavity of a small girl; there they must find the dismembered parts of the girl's body and place them inside the coffin. While they search for the parts, a mysterious monster called "The Red Person" chases them. If they get killed, the day resets. This is the premise of the film.
The initial minutes of the film make it seem like an intense horror/slasher film. The way the story progresses with very gruesome and brutal imagery, one assumes that this is going to be a treat for people who enjoy strictly horror films. However, that isn’t the case at all. When the main characters (which comprise generic and archetypal characters) discover that they are in a time loop, things change drastically. The film shifts tone suddenly and abruptly. It transitions to a more lighthearted puzzle-solving film with alternating intense chase sequences. This is good and bad. It's good because it makes way for the film to be more unique and gives the characters better depth. bad because it seemed like it would have been a really good serious horror film. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously after a point and has numerous montages of them having fun with each other (because they technically have infinite lives until they put the body together) and also getting killed very creatively.
The film becomes more about the characters, with all the characters getting fleshed out and friendship taking center stage as the main theme of the film. I don't want to hold it against the film because it doesn't detract from the experience, but if it had gone full horror, it could have turned out pretty well as well. There are a few twists and turns, though, as the film progresses.
Talking about the monster, "The Red Person," has a mix of practical and CGI effects for its body. The practical effects look better than the CGI in this film, which makes one wonder why they’re used so little these days. The performances in the film are substantial, with all the actors doing their parts. There are a lot of tropes in the film that are very prevalent in Japanese media, but nothing that really impedes the quality of the film.
The film begins strongly, dips a little in the middle, but quickly picks up again towards the third act. It is a short, fun, and entertaining film with nothing that will blow you away. It is simply satisfactory and enjoyable.
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