Tag (Real Oni Gokko), a Japenese action, fantasy, horror film, is an official selection of the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. The movie was directed by Sion Sono and features acting performances by Reina Triendl, Mariko Shinoda, Erina Mano, Yuki Sakurai, Aki Hiraoka, and Ami Tomite.
This film, which was also written by director Sion Sono, follows in his tradition of stories that involve high school students or young adults who end up in blood soaked situations. While most have been more serious in tone, this movie is more fun and campy and I would put it in the same category as films like Robogeisha and Machine Girl. The story is pretty simple although it does contain a few twists and turns to help keep you interested but really, it's all about explosions, running, screaming, bodies being sliced in half and having a bloody good time at the movies.
Reina Triendl plays Mitsuko, a student at an all girls high school. After a tragic and mysterious event leaves her as the sole survivor of to busloads of students, she enters and alternate version of her school and things really start to get weird. Mitsuko goes through literal and figurative transformations over the course of the film although her friend Aki, played by Yuki Sakurai, is somehow there to guide her through everything that happens. As seemingly mystical forces wreak havoc all around her, Mitsuko must figure out how to put an end to all of the death and destruction before it's too late.
Watching the trailer for this film gives you a really good idea of what you are getting in to and it pretty much delivers on all of the promises made. The action is pretty much non stop, there are lots of decent fight scenes, plenty of explosions, and tons of blood splattering everywhere. Yeah, this is exploitation cinema in a big way and it apologizes for nothing. One could say it takes advantage of the classic schoolgirl and Lolita tropes although it can also be seen as a film about empowerment, friendship, and finding your inner strength so take that for what it is. I can see why some might be offended or want to dismiss the movie as nonsensical trash but that's also kind of the point. It gets your attention by throwing stereotypes in your face and literally tears them to pieces.
What I like most about Tag (Real Oni Gokko) is that it knows exactly what type of movie it is and all it asks you to do is have fun while watching it. The twist at the end is actually quite interesting and makes me want to see Sion Sono create future installments to flesh out the idea a bit more. Bottom line, if you are a fan of this type of film, you are sure to enjoy what Tag has to offer.
Check out all of my reviews and coverage for the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival HERE!