Hitomi MiwaShiro NamikiMegumi KagurazakaHitomi Kitamura
Gakkou no Kaidan (2007)
Medium: film
Year: 2007
Director: Hirohisa Sasaki
Writer: Takaaki Kaima, Hirohisa Sasaki
Actor: Mei Kurokawa, Toshinobu Matsuo, Nana Akiyama, Megumi Kagurazaka, Keisaku Kimura, Hitomi Kitamura, Yuka Kosaka, Hitomi Miwa, Leo Morimoto, Shiro Namiki, Yuni Takimoto, Rakuto Tochihara
Keywords: Gakkou no Kaidan, rubbish
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 75 minutes
Url: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0991199/
Website category: Japanese
Review date: 18 June 2024
do not watch this film
I knew before I started that this isn't really a Gakkou no Kaidan film. The series I've been reviewing uses the word "kaidan" that means "horror", i.e. school horror stories, whereas the "kaidan" in this film's title is a homophone that means "stairs". Yes, that's right. Stairs at school. I suppose it's a comedy... but only theoretically. In practice, it's the kind of anti-entertainment that you'd only call "comedy" as a broad genre classification. It's certainly not funny. Not for even a millisecond did I laugh. In fact, I came to hate this film like poison and I only reached the end through murderous bloody-mindedness. I'd never seen its variety of incompetence before. Watching it broadened my understanding of how films can go wrong.
Satomi (Mei Kurokawa) is moving in with her aunt, because her parents have gone abroad for work. She also has a hostile cousin, Mifuyu, who'll be horrible for the first 5-10 minutes of the film, then disappear until she pops up near the end because she likes Satomi's persistence and has decided to be her friend instead.
Satomi wants to join her new school's basketball club, but no. She's about to get roped into the Stairs Club, a group of nutters who run hell-for-leather through the school and do physically impossible jumps. (This looks duller than you'd think. The jumps are done with camera cuts and nothing here is as exciting as parkour.) They ask Satomi to join and she refuses, but then later changes her mind because a hot guy gave her a piggy-back. What's more, the Stairs Club has enemies! They're the Hitler Youth... whoops, no, I meant the Student Council. Well, they're pretty similar. They have military uniforms, scary armbands and police state surveillance. They're led by a girl (Chizuru) who co-founded the Stairs Club, but later became its implacable foe after Hot Guy got a minor injury. It was nothing important and he's fine now, but she still wants to shut them down.
I don't get it. Minor injuries are common in sports, especially if you're hurtling dangerously up and down school staircases. Is she a moron? Answer: yes. In the name of safety (?), Chizuru will have floors waxed to a dangerous polish and will put violent obstacles in the runners' way, e.g. martial arts bouts, kendo sword duels, rugby players, sumo wrestlers, etc.
There are unfunny moments that imply attempted comedy. The headmaster's saxophone. Satomi overcomes five sumo wrestlers by jumping over them and giving them nosebleeds because they saw up her skirt. Also, there's a cartoonishly bitter teacher who hates the Stairs Club for no reason except that he's the designated Hostile Authority Figure.
Heaven help me, there are songs. This film is a musical. None of them are any good and the film doesn't bother with dancing or any other choreography to accompany them. That would have required money and effort. Also, I think one of the songs is Japanese rap with bagpipes.
There's a micro-reference to the Gakkou no Kaidan horror franchise, when a mother pushing a pram claims to be cursed.
The worst bit is the finale. Hot Guy (aka. So Pretty That You'll Bet He Sings In A Boy Band) makes a bet with Chizuru. If she races against Satomi and wins, the club will voluntarily shut down! Race-hating girl agrees to run in a race. Uh-huh. These two girls go tearing through the school, which is sort of vaguely okay if you try not to think about how you'd have filmed these scenes, i.e. with actual parkour. There's also some Matrix-style bullet time when rugby players throw balls at her. Eventually, they're approaching the finishing line. Naturally, it's at the top of a huge flight of stone steps. The people at the top include: (a) Cartoonishly Bitter And Evil Teacher, and (b) that pram-pushing mother. The teacher accidentally knocks the pram down the steps just as Satomi and Chizuru are running up. We're looking at a potential manslaughter charge. The baby could have died, or at least been seriously inujured.
Satomi and Chizuru run past the descending pram. They're close enough to touch it. They do nothing. They watch it hurtle past and keep running upward, which should have got them both disqualified, or even arrested. Only after that does Satomi stop, turn around and do a suicidal jump down the staircase to do the needlessly impossible and catch the runaway pram. Afterwards, everyone lauds her like a heroine, while Chizuru shows no sign of guilt and doesn't get in trouble.
This movie is basically unwatchable, unless you think it's so bad it's good and schedule it for a Bad Movie Night. Should anyone do this, I accept no responsibility.