March 23, 2023

Still, it’s a perfectly acceptable film as long as you’re not expecting anything groundbreaking from the genre or story. Kanna Hashimoto who plays the lead role of Asuka Morisaki gives a stand-out performance and is certainly one to watch in the number of films she’s set to appear in this year (Yudo, Haru ni Chiru, Kingdom 3).

Over the film’s hour and a half runtime, we’re presented with a series of brutal deaths that don’t seem to make use of the time-loop genre as well as they should do. None of the classmates seem to learn anything each time they die, nor do they focus on the best course of action for properly evading the Yūrei. While there’s technically nothing to be done other than finding the body parts, it’s still not thought through well enough for this type of movie.

Learning, improving, and adapting, are all things that make the time-loop genre so interesting, but it seems to be somewhat of an afterthought in this case. It’s especially true when compared to something like Edge of Tomorrow, a time-loop film inspired by Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s light novel All You Need Is Kill

However, it’s not nonstop action for the entire film, with more than one friendship-building montage where the classmates seem to forget about the dire situation they’ve found themselves in. A trip to the beach with a bizarre Baywatch-esque slow-motion scene and a lunchtime pitstop accompanied by upbeat J-Pop music take away from the severity of what’s going on and confuse identity within the J-Horror sector. 

While these jovial moments, very common in J-Dramas, attempt to build our attachment to the characters, in this case it has the opposite effect. Such diversions are acceptable in J-Dramas because of the fairly light-hearted nature of the genre. Incorporating it into any form of J-Horror, though, severely takes away its credibility as a serious movie, even if it is supposed to be a teen flick. A clear example of this miscalculation is when the spirit of Miko Onoyama (The Red Person) has her fist through one of the student’s heads, and the next moment they’re laughing over a plate of kabocha korokke seemingly unphased by their predicament.

This, in itself, wouldn’t be a dealbreaker, but the introduction of the spirit’s second phase makes it a lot harder to forgive.

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