RE/MEMBER (aka Remember Member) on Netflix is a new horror movie from Japan. It’s based on a manga and features a time-loop storyline. At times it’s brutal and very bloody, but then it also turns quite light and happy. Read our full Re/Member movie review here!
RE/MEMBER is a new Netflix horror movie from Japan (also known as Karada Sagashi or カラダ探し). It’s very much a teen horror movie in a high school setting, so you should be prepared for that. I never mind a story with teen main characters and this one is off to a good start. Also, I do like a good time loop storyline, which is the plot driver here.
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Unfortunately, the runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes (and there’s an end credit scene as well) does mean it’s way too long. Also, the style of it changes. At times, it feels like I’m trapped in a sweet story about love and friendship set to a “Hello Kitty”-inspired soundtrack. The next minute, someone is torn apart. Ultimately, this sort of hybrid did not work for me.
Continue reading our Re/Member movie review below. Find it on Netflix from February 14, 2023.
Over and over again
I know not everyone loves a time loop story. However, when done right, it can work really well. In Re/Member, the actual time loop element works really well. It’s the rest of the movie that takes off in directions that do not work for me. Halfway through – which means around an hour into the runtime – the story takes a darker turn while also becoming lighter in other ways.
That’s when I started to lose interest in the story, which is a shame since it began in a very promising way.
We meet Asuka, who is a rather lonely high school student. After a seemingly normal day, she receives a strange text message (or many of them) and at the stroke of midnight, she finds herself in the Chapel at school. There she is joined by Takahiro and four other high schoolers from their class.
After having spent the night getting killed off one by one – by an entity called the “Red Person” – they wake up in their own bed to relive the same day. At midnight they are once again in the Chapel. Quickly, they realize that they can only break the curse by finding the scattered remains of a body hidden within their school.
So far, so good. But the storytelling is ultimately a “scatterbrain” experience. It just doesn’t engage the average viewer much, I suspect.
J-Horror meets Happy Death Day… and Hello Kitty?!
What age Re/Member is made for, is very hard to get a grasp on. It’s very brutal and bloody but also a bit too “bubblegum” for my liking. Mostly because it takes away from the horror rather than highlighting or deepening it. A horror-comedy can help throw you off guard, but these very “silly happy” scenes in Re/Member do not do the same.
Whether it was ever the intention is something I’m unsure of. Maybe it’s just a cultural aspect that doesn’t work for me.
Horror mixed with comedy or drama or sci-fi, I can get behind. Horror mixed with something that feels like it’s from a totally different script and movie just feels tone-deaf to me. To be fair, it’s not even so much the content of the scenes as it is the soundtrack. The songs feel completely out of touch with the story being told.
Imagine watching The Ring and having Barbie Girl play in the middle of the movie. Even if it’s during scenes where we figure out the origin of the curse, it just does not work. But hey, maybe that’s just me.
I never like it when it happens in Bollywood horror-thriller movies either. It works in big and bold dramas but ruins the tone and vibe for me when the story is darker. Often, the right song to highlight the more dismal setting would have made the scene work just fine.
You can watch Re/Member on Netflix now!
Re/Member is an adaptation of the manga “Karadasagashi” written by Welzard with Katsutoshi Murase providing the art. It was published between September 2014 and December 2017 – across 17 volumes and a whopping 153 chapters.
In other words, it makes sense that trying to turn this into a movie would result in a somewhat scattered experience. This horror movie adaptation was directed by Eiichirô Hasumi. A director best known for Ansatsu kyôshitsu (2015), the thriller series Mozu (2014), and Assassination Classroom: The Graduation (2016).
The official synopsis from Netflix ends with the following: “Can they break out of the murderous loop and see tomorrow? A deathly exhilarating climax awaits in this ultra-thrilling looping horror experience.“
Now, that is definitely overselling how this movie evolves. Unfortunately, it actually makes it sound much more interesting than it ultimately is.
Re/Member already premiered in its native Japan with a theatrical release on October 14, 2022. With this new Netflix release, it’s a reaching wide (and international) audience. Give it a shot if you’re into manga and time-loop stories.
Re/Member (or Remember Member) premieres on Netflix globally on February 14, 2023.
Director: Eiichirô Hasumi
Writers: Katsutoshi Murase, Welzard
Cast: Kanna Hashimoto, Gordon Maeda, Maika Yamamoto, Fuju Kamio, Kotaro Daigo, Mayu Yokota
Six high schoolers stuck in a murderous time loop must find the scattered remains of an unknown victim to break the curse and finally see another day.
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