Alright, can we talk about this? There are times when I definitely believe that the Asian market has the best horror. I am usually impressed with the effects, the storyline, the way that they can bring you to the edge of your seat with little effort. Is it this way with every Asian horror? No, of course not, you will have your hits and misses. (Hello? Noriko’s Dinner Table?) But majority of the time, you can’t go wrong with a Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Thai horror flick. Take Battle Royale, for instance. One of the bloodiest movies I’ve seen in a while from Japan and involving kids, BR is based on Koushon Takami’s manga of the same title. The basic premise is that in the near future, junior high school students are forced to participate in the government sponsored event called The Program. No one knows what class will be taken or when, The Program simply strikes. Forty-two students on their way to a class trip suddenly wake to collars around their necks and military personnel surrounding them. They are quickly briefed on the rules, only one winner left standing. Of course, some students don’t make it outside to even “play”.
Events take off quickly in BR, which is an awesome thing in horror movies. You get right to kids killing kids, the tears, the blood, the heart-wrenching scenes of lovers jumping off cliffs together. There are times when I can’t tell what’s more terrifying, the Program or the facts that some kids really get into it. Really brings out the psychopaths in a few players. When it comes to babies killing babies, this is the real horror. Never mind the fact that the government apparently has some deep seated issues regarding children and need to go to therapy to deal with their past bullying incidents, never mind that the teacher set up his class for this “game” because he was disrespected both at school and at home. What’s scary is the paranoia, the doubt, the fear that grips these kids and won’t let go. A lot won’t go down without a fight and even try to blow up the building the Program administrators are in. That goes frightfully wrong, but at least they try to bring the heat down on the ones who started it.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with Battle Royale. Yes, there were those pesky rumors about it being like Hunger Games, but trust when I say, Hunger Games doesn’t come close. Even when comparing book to manga, BR stands on its own. (P.S.- the manga is a lot bloodier.) If you like your girls psychotic and your boys sensitive, BR is the horror for you.
Rating: 4 screams