Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Name is Not the Game - A Look at the Foreign Film Tag (2015)

By Cat


I decided to dabble in Netflix’s foreign film selection to find something to share with you today. It actually came up in my recommended movies list. I guess I’ve been watching a lot of horror lately. It’s almost October, though! This is the best time of year for such things!

This instance is decidedly one of those times where you can’t judge a film by its title – or even poster for that matter… ok let’s expand that to even include the Netflix blurbs. I seriously wish that I could have found some job where it was ok to blatantly share incorrect information like these blurb writers. I just can’t even… so we’re moving on.

When seeing the movie title, the recently released film by the same name came to mind. This, however, has a story completely and utterly different than that of the 2018 film directed by Jeff Tomsic (This Is Not Happening, Crazy House, Idiotsitter). The newer film explores a group of friends with a long-running game of tag in the spirit of the school playground game – just taken to the extreme with cross-country travel and the like. No… no… I watched the 2015 version directed by Sion Sono (Why Don't You Play in Hell?, The Whispering Star, Tokyo Vampire Hotel).

Here are the two blurbs that Netflix was kind enough to misleadingly provide:
  1.  “Alternate realities, Japanese schoolgirls, and lots and lots of blood make this a whole new way of playing tag.” 
  2. “The sole survivor of a freak school bus accident, a shy Japanese high schooler finds herself in a surreal -- and very violent -- alternate universe.”
What the bloody (and I mean that literally) hell, man?!

I must give credit to IMDb for having a more accurate short synopsis for this movie: ”A girl's life cascades into chaos as everyone around her suffers a gruesome fate while she herself becomes less and less certain of who she is and what kind of a world she lives in."

Sadly, I didn’t look at IMDb prior to watching the film. It left me rather confused through the whole thing. I kept waiting for the big reveal to show me where the game of tag was involved with the story.

Spoiler alert! It’s not – not really. Do you know how it fits in? You see it on a poster towards the very end of the movie – the word ‘tag,’ that is. Are you kidding me???!

You might wonder why my reaction is so strong to this particular misnomer. You can call it my breaking point, I suppose, with the whole disparity between blurbs and actual film content. Like the Brits seeking the holiest of chalices with invisible coconut horses, someone needs to sack the llama in charge of those things.

What the movie boils down to is a completely bonkers display of spatter and the occasional choreographed fight scene. Nothing seems to make sense at all. It was just a lot of shrill screaming and running from one strange scenario to another, with a lot of carnage on the way. There were moments that I thought there might be a deeper meaning to everything – that, perhaps, this was a trip through the main character’s subconscious while she was in some sort of coma following the bus accident. Nope. No such luck.

I can’t say that I liked this film very much, but I CAN say that at least it wasn’t boring. Just don’t go into it expecting any sort of real game of tag. Further, for the love of Bob, please don’t let the Japanese School girl uniform fool you –this movie isn’t for kids at all.

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