Also known as Suicide Circle or by it's original japanese title Jisatsu Saakuru. This was unlike any other movie I have ever seen. Very impressive.
The movie starts in the Tokyo Shinjuku train station, where 54 schoolgirls hold hands, chant '1,2,3' and simultaneously jump in front of the arriving train, resulting in their deaths. What makes this scene disturbing is that it is portrayed realistically, like it is really happening.
There is also a montage of different kinds of suicides acted out it in the film. And you get this creepy sensation all throughout. The feeling that something is not entirely right. This movie had the reputation of being sick and gory, I guess partly due to some of the blood and death scenes. But to be honest, my impression was it was more of psychological fear rather than gore fear. So I think most people who don't usually like watching horror would be ok to watch this. Either that or the DVD I got was the cut version.
Also, the guy in Audition is here! He's the lead cop, Detective Kuroda. This actor, Ryo Ishibashi, is so likable, you want him to succeed and get to the source of the bizarre suicides. There's a scene where the detectives stake out the train station to prevent any potential suicides. It doesn't seem like anyone cares though. The schoolkids even make jokes about the suicides and laugh at the face of one of the junior detectives, the very man who is trying to protect them. You sense there is a disconnect between the young and the old, with the young seeming detached from society.
There's also this J-Pop kiddie group named 'Dessert' or 'Desart', or 'Desrat', their name keeps changing. Teenagers and kids love them, they're the new craze, the new fad. The band has several catchy songs, it's most popular song is the aptly titled 'Mail Me'. Even Kuroda's kids are addicted to them.
One thing, this film is weird, but its weirdness has a purpose. I was engrossed the entire time watching it. Not a single bad scene. A warning, I did not understand it on first viewing and I still don't understand all aspects to the story as I write this. It's the type of movie which you have to think about to figure out the meaning. It's classified under 'horror', but this ain't no horror flick. It's a movie with a powerful message which will eventually dawn on you. Listen closely to what Misuko says in the end as I believe this is the closest message the director wanted to convey to the viewer.
The overall theme hits the right spot. The Dessert J-Pop group oddly resemble a lot of the musical fad groups you see in Japan and the US. It reminded me of how much my brother and younger cousins are obsessed with all aspects of j-pop/anime culture. They buy the CDs, read their comics, watch their anime. It's a reflection of today's society where our lives are connected and influenced by pop consumer culture. Where does it eventually lead us?
I'm interested to hear your interpretation if you watch this.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars * * * * *
Update: The more I think about this movie, the better it gets. I would even say it is one of the most important movies I have ever seen. It is more social discourse than scares and gore. But that doesn't detract from the pure horror when you realize the true nature and sources of the suicide events.