A pandemic of unexpected and grotesque deaths sweep through Japan. They appear to have been suicides, but is there more to the phenomenon than meets the eye..?
This incendiary cult classic from Japan became infamous for the opening scene in which a group of schoolgirls throw themselves in front of a moving train. Quite why that particular scene has been consistently singled out, considering the multitude of other disturbing moments in the movie, is something of a mystery. I suspect that some of the people who have drawn attention to this scene probably didn't make it any further into the movie. It was probably for the best.
In truth though, the film is more about atmosphere and suspense than shocks. It's not an exaggeration to say that the film is one of the most thought-provoking pieces of horror cinema to be made in the last decade, and deserves a reputation for more than just provocation. If you are feeling adventurous and want something that stimulates the mind and shocks the senses then this film should be at the top of your "to watch" list.
Don't expect the film to hand out any easy answers though. The next film in the series (Noriko's Dinner Table) simply adds to the confusion by raising even further questions. This seems to be the issue, more than any other, which drives a wedge between viewers; some people are infuriated by the film's obstinate refusal to explain anything, whilst others are able to love the movie, mysteries and all. Regardless of which side the viewer falls into though, I think it can be agreed that the film is a singularly disturbing, important and iconoclastic piece of cinema which deserves to be seen and talked about by as many people as possible.