Re/Member (2023) Movie Review – Get ready for some serious tonal whiplash

Get ready for some serious tonal whiplash

The Japanese have a long, storied history surrounding iconic horror flicks. From Battle Royale and The Ring through to The Grudge and Audition, there are some excellent choices to sink your teeth into. Unfortunately, Re/member is not one of them. Instead, what we get is a surprisingly perfunctory horror, armed with a tonal mish-mash of slasher, creature feature and slice of life drama all merged into one.

The story feels like a spin on Happy Death Day, following six different high school students who find themselves trapped in a time loop and stalked by a horrific ghost known simply as The Red Person. The only way for these teens to escape is to find the body parts of the corpse belonging to the ghost’s previous victim, bring them together and hope they survive the night without being killed. Or worse, eaten and obliterated from history.

With each night resetting and the teens finding themselves thrown deeper into this mystery, the film takes on an extra dimension as it explores each of these kids and what’s brought them all together – and why they’ve been chosen for this task.

The story starts really brightly before dipping quite considerably during the middle portion. The time jumps become somewhat mundane and feel like a vehicle for a character drama as the six teens start to open up and become friends. There’s a whole bunch of emotional soul-searching, eating lunch at school and researching the task at hand, all of which grind the pace to a halt and give this a somewhat strange tone, bouncing into quirky slice of life territory.

Given how creepy and shocking this film starts off, the fact that this swings so wildly into teen slice of life drama is absolutely bizarre. It’s certainly not helped by several quirky montages, complete with J-pop songs that just do not fit with this. The thing is, we’ve seen with films like The Ring or even something akin to Scream (where horror and comedy complement one another) that you can maintain that level of dread while also fleshing out your characters in a meaningful way. Re/member doesn’t manage that.

Despite its flaws, there’s still enjoyment to be had here and the moments within the school at night, where the kids are stalked by The Red Person, are easily some of the stand-out moments. The final act of the movie feels like a nod toward The Thing, with some welcome practical effects marrying into the CGI for a final fight that brings everything together really well. Stick around for a tasty little post-credit scene too!

Re/Member is not a bad movie but it’s a not a particularly good one either. The tonal whiplash absolutely destroys any momentum this film builds, while the time loop hook becomes tired and overstays its welcome long before the final credits roll. This could have been a great movie but unfortunately it’s unlikely to be re/membered for long.


Read More: Re/Member Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 5/10

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