- 1 hr 25 min
"Tag" is a 2015 Japanese psychological horror film that is as confounding as it is visually arresting. Directed by Sion Sono, known for his work with other titles like "Suicide Club" and "Love Exposure," the film has garnered attention for its vivid imagery, surreal narrative, and a blend of horror and philosophical undertones. It stars Reina Triendl, Mariko Shinoda, and Erina Mano in the lead roles, and their performances contribute substantially to the film’s eerie and unsettling atmosphere.
The movie opens with a startling and violent scene that sets the tone for the rest of the film. Reina Triendl plays Mitsuko, a young girl whose ordinary school day quickly transforms into an inexplicable nightmare. She finds herself caught in a surreal and frightening situation, with her life hanging in the balance alongside her classmates' as they are hunted by unknown, unseen forces. This scene effectively grabs the audience's attention and leads them into a film that consistently defies expectations.
After the gruesome and bewildering opening sequence, Mitsuko finds herself adrift in a slippery reality that seems to keep shifting under her feet. Throughout the movie, she wakes up in alternate realities, each time assuming a new identity, including the characters of Keiko and Izumi, played by Mariko Shinoda and Erina Mano respectively. Each reality appears stranger than the last, with its own set of rules and perils that Mitsuko must navigate and comprehend.
Central to the narrative is the theme of identity and the concept of self amidst chaos. Mitsuko, as the protagonist, is constantly questioning who she is and the nature of the world around her. The shape-shifting realities present a philosophical puzzle, where each shift reveals different aspects of her identity and the roles that women are expected to play in society.
"Tag" features a plethora of bizarre and fantastical elements including surreal imagery that borders on the artistic, such as scenes reminiscent of a twisted fairy tale, laden with symbolism and metaphor. Many of these visuals are beautiful yet macabre, and they serve to reinforce the movie’s otherworldly and dreamlike atmosphere. The extensive use of slow-motion sequences further adds to the disorienting and hallucinogenic quality that permeates the film.
At its core, "Tag" is a genre-bending film that melds elements of horror, action, fantasy, and coming-of-age drama. The movie flirts with various horror tropes and sub-genres, including survival horror with Mitsuko and her friends trying to escape from relentless chasers, and body horror with a focus on physical metamorphosis and the fragility of the human form. The action sequences are quick-paced and adrenaline-charged, providing a sharp contrast to the film's more introspective moments.
The performances of the three lead actresses are crucial for infusing emotion and a sense of reality within the mind-bending storyline. Reina Triendl's portrayal of Mitsuko conveys a sense of innocence and bewilderment fitting for a character plunged into unfathomable situations. Mariko Shinoda and Erina Mano support this with their own takes on similar characters forced to face unnerving dilemmas. Together, they form a trio of personas that represent different aspects of the same fragmented identity, subjected to a world that seems to be controlled by enigmatic and malevolent forces.
The narrative structure of "Tag" is non-linear and fragmented, mirroring the splintered reality Mitsuko experiences. This makes it a film that might require multiple viewings to begin to unravel the many layers of meaning and clues scattered throughout. It is as much about the journey and experience as it is about the destination or the overarching plot.
Sion Sono's direction ensures that "Tag" is never predictable. It's a film that is unafraid to explore dark themes and push boundaries, asking more questions than it answers. The unsettling score and sound design further build the atmosphere, mixing with the striking visuals to create a truly immersive experience.
Overall, "Tag" is a unique cinematic experience that defies simple categorization and analysis. It is a film that lingers in the mind long after the credits roll, haunting with its imagery and the philosophical puzzles it presents. The movie's blend of horror, action, and surrealism, backed by strong performances and a director with a distinctive vision, all combine to create a piece that is thought-provoking, bewildering, and visually spectacular. It's a rollercoaster of emotions and conceptions that ultimately spirals into a mesmerizing piece of art, leaving audiences both disturbed and in wonder of the ephemeral nature of life and identity.
Tag is a 2015 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 25 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1.