Friday, June 24, 2011

Freaky Friday: Battle Royale

Ok, so technically not a horror movie, but this film has enough gore and plot twists to keep horror buffs happy. It’s a 2000 Japanese flick based on the 1999 book of the same name by Koushun Takami. It also has been adapted to a manga.

With the rise of dystopia, especially in YA literature, this movie would easily fit into the thriving market. Yet, it came out a decade before the “craze”. Primal visual effects, above the bar acting, and a well-constructed plot will make you forget that you’re reading subtitles. (Yes, I’m telling you to watch it with subtitles. If my husband can do it AND end up loving the movie, you can too.)
Battle Royale Director's Cut Cover
After the economy collapsed in Japan, in a not so distant future, adults lost their jobs and students boycotted schools. The government quickly became mistrusting of its populace and decides to “keep them in line” by condemning a ninth grade class each year to participate in Battle Royale. Stranded on an island, the students are given weapons to kill each other. Last student standing wins and stays alive. With collars around their fragile necks ready to detonate at the slightest rebellion, the students are forced to play the game while being filmed in a twisted version of reality TV.
Battle Royale Promo Movie Poster
The story begins inside of a ninth grade classroom. Through distinct camera shots, we learn a bit about each of the students and the main players of the Battle Royal. Quick snippets into their lives show the value of human life, despite the students’ pasts, and make us even more horrified at the thought they’ll be facing death by each other’s hands.

I’ve watched the film several times over the years and it is always one that stays with me. Breaking the boundaries of the horror or action genres, it delves deeper into the nature of the human psyche.

Rating: A+

P.S. If you’re a Suzanne Collins’ HUNGER GAMES fan like me, you’ll love this film.

P.S.S. An American remake of the film was reported to be in the works in 2006. However, following the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, the project was put on hold. Personally, I hope it stays on hold forever.


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  2. I saw BR (with subtitles) a while back and loved it. I read the book, too. It was amazing!