Schoolgirl Apocalypse
Also known as: Sailor Fuku Mokushiroku
Medium: film
Year: 2011
Country: Japan
Keywords: zombies
Language: Japanese
Actor: Rino Higa, Max Mackenzie, Asami Mizukawa, Kaoru Nishida, Mai Tsujimoto, Mihoko Watanabe
Format: 105 minutes
Url: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2360114/
Website category: Japanese
Review date: 19 December 2022
Sailor Fuku Mokushiroku
It's the first (and to date only) feature film of writer/director John Cairns, who'd been living in Japan for over a decade. It's very much a Japanese film. Imagine a zombie film... and then put the idea aside, because there are important differences between zombies and what we're looking at here. I liked all that. It's interesting, despite a fairly silly ending. These not-zombies bleed from their ears, only infect men, don't bite, use weapons, run, can drive cars, aren't dead and will do odd things like repetitively stroke a wall.
Unfortunately, though, the film's protagonist is off-putting. Her name's Sakura and she...
1. is dreary and underacted (by Rino Higa)
2. has a habit of abandoning people (including friends) to be killed. She'll just run away and let the not-zombies get them. Sometimes she'll also steal their binoculars, rucksacks, etc.
3. on meeting a scary lady who steals that rucksack, Sakura is shocked and calls her assailant a bad person. Hang on. Your stolen goods just got re-stolen. What are you complaining about? At least you're still alive, which can't be said for your victims earlier. (Admittedly the scary lady also kicked Sakura, but my response to that was "good".)
4. got on badly with her nice mother who pointed out that Sakura's future planning was woolly re. going to live in America. Sakura's future planning will get even worse when the not-zombie apocalypse hits. The mother died saving Sakura's life.
5. in fairness, Sakura grows a bit. She says sorry to her mother's voicemail message and, halfway through the film, doesn't run off and abandon two people to die. (One of them is a hot caucasian boy in a hilarious yellow/gold wig, though, so she might just be thinking with her groin.)
If it hadn't been for Sakura, I'd have quite liked this film. Its opening establishes its not-zombie apocalypse with a little more originality than usual. I admire its crazed ending. I like the weird semi-animated inserts. The pacing is simple, but it works. It's a low-budget J-horror that's a bit above average, with reasonable atmosphere and some nice touches... but I didn't care about the characters.
Didn't work for me. Might work for you. Could have been a lot worse.