A group of high-school students are tasked with reconstructing a body to stop a monstrous curse in this teen action-horror. Asuka (Kanna Hashimoto) is an introverted high-school girl who struggles to fit in after an incident in her early school life left her ostracised from the popular groups. At midnight one night she finds herself transported to a chapel by the school, along with five other students, Rumiko (Maika Yamamoto), Rie (Yokota Mayu), Atsushi (Fuju Kamio) Takahiro (Gordon Maeda) and Shota (Kotaro Daigo). The bookish Shota is able to shed light on their situation, explaining that they must recover several severed body parts and lay them in a casket in the chapel. They are hunted through the school by a bloodied child carrying a teddy bear, the victim of an historic murder. Failure, often due to being killed by the bloodied child, results in the six being returned to the morning of the previous day. In order to break this cycle they must work together to find all the parts of the body.
Re/Member starts out strong, with some brutal horror and excellent direction by Eiichiro Hasumi perfectly capturing the creepy vibe. The group of school-children being hunted by a supernatural horror is a well-worn story by now, but the gruesome deaths, eerie night-time chases around the school, and the mysterious past of the monster are stylishly woven together. The film’s main failing is in the fact that the story removes most of the tension by explaining that they will repeat the same night over again if they are killed. This wouldn’t be an issue if not for the fact that the characters themselves soon seem overly relaxed about their predicament, taking time out for a fun day at the beach, and even moments of romance, seemingly unconcerned by being brutally murdered night after night. The lack of threat undermines the elements that are well done, with some fun action and excellent special effects. The earlier monster of the young blood-spattered child is replaced by a less effective antagonist later in the film. Threat is added later on when the teenagers’ mortality is re-established, but this could have been included from the beginning. The horror score creates a sense of dread that manages to recapture some of the terror that should be felt. If you can put aside the large plot-holes and inexplicable story elements then “Re/Member” is a fun teen horror. The film is based on a web novel, with a screenplay by Harumi Doki.
One element that the film strives to bring out is the relationship between the characters. The notion that the monster is the personification of their loneliness is an interesting element, but one that fits poorly with the fact that it is trying to tear them limb from limb. The solidarity and comradeship the six require to defeat it is a positive message, but again the questions over exactly what the purpose of the ‘Body Hunt’ is for stands in the way of any other considerations. Much like the dismembered corpse, it is a film that seems put together from several popular teen move tropes. Although it is not particularly original, the cast and set-piece action moments are strong enough to make for an enjoyable action horror.