Original Japanese Title: Jisatsu saakuru
Directed by: Shion Sono
Written by: Shion Sono
Produced by: Masaya Kawamata
Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Akaji Maro, Masatoshi Nagase, Saya Hagiwara, and Hideo Sako

When I was younger, we used to go up to the fountain drink dispenser at restaurants and put a little bit of every flavor drink into our glass. We called the resulting mixture a “suicide.”

If you took the creepy horror of Ringu, mixed it with the black comedy and social satire of Heathers, the crime procedural of Law & Order, and the musical insanity of The Rocky Horror Picture Show…the concoction would be Shion Sono’s Suicide Club.

The film opens with 54 school girls lining up at the edge of train platform. We watch helplessly from our chairs as they link hands and begin to chant: “One…two…three!” The group then falls in front of the oncoming train. We see its wheels slice through their skulls and rip their bodies apart. We witness blood on an unfathomable scale—a tsunami of blood that sprays and washes over the screen (and believe me, even though I just described it to you, you can not possibly be prepared for the horror…the perverse humor of actually watching it for yourself).

As the police begin to investigate, people all across the city start to leap out windows and carve themselves up with kitchen knives. Is the stress of everyday life in Japan getting to everyone, or is some darker force at work here? Maybe it’s too much television, as one parent points out. Or perhaps it’s the music of that girl band that seems to be everywhere you turn. Or could it be that strange website?—the one where new dots appear for every death that occurs?

Writer/director Sono takes his narrative down many dark alleys, but some lead to shocking dead end. At one point, a police informant is kidnapped by a crazy cult and taken to a deserted bowling alley. There, she watches as the cult leader sings and dances among white sacks that are strewn across the lanes—suddenly stabbing the women that are writhing around within them. It’s a well edited, well photographed, truly disturbing scene…that…goes…nowhere. It’s as if it belongs in some other movie. Sono also loads the film with more philosophical nonsense than all three Matrix movies combined, resulting in an ending that answers everything and nothing all at the same time.

Just like those fountain blends we made as children, Suicide Club has a little bit of everything and not enough of anything. Some will find it to be a social commentary on fads. Others will ponder the meaning of its psychobabble. Me, I found it to be an enjoyable blend of dark humor and creepy dread. The mix isn’t for all tastes, but I liked it well enough.

3 out of 5 stars