Tag (2015) Blu-ray Review

On sale 20th November from Eureka! Directed by Sion Sono.

Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) is the sole survivor of a bizarre paranormal incident that kills all of her classmates. Running for her life, Mitsuko seemingly slips into an alternate reality, but death and chaos seems to follow her everywhere. As Mitsuko finds herself in increasingly surreal and violent situations, the true horror behind her nightmare is revealed.

Tag (Riaru Onigokko) is a surreal exploration of a young girl becoming a young woman, directed by Sion Sono.

Sono is the man responsible for the likes of Suicide Club (2001) and Tokyo Tribe (2014). A director that believes over-the-top is not enough, Tag features outlandish dream sequences and zany gore scenes that benefit from his unrestrained style.

The opening of the feature sees Sono get straight to the madness when a coach full of Japanese schoolgirls are decapitated at the same time by an unseen force. One girl survives though, Mitsuko (Reina Triendl), managing to outrun the murderous gust of wind and returning to her school. Sono then changes gear, with Tag feeling more like a sickeningly sweet tale about teen girls being best friends forever.

Thankfully the madcap style of earlier gradually works it’s way back into the story as more bizarre deaths and character interactions happen. Teachers gun down their students, crocodiles chomp down on teen girls crotches and numerous pillow fights pose odd departures from the bezzie mates angle.

There is a clear message about Mitsuko fearing what will happen when she is an adult female. Until the final moments of the run time there are no male actors, Mitsuko is forced to get married and the groom is a man with a pigs head hiding in a black coffin as well as Mitsuko ranting that women are not toys for men to do what they want with. The imagery of blood and the way Mitsuko reacts to it seems as if Sono is implying she is scared of starting her periods. The ending doesn’t hide behind such symbolism, the message is bluntly confirmed.

There are moments of Ichi the Killer-level violence and gore. Shot in a madcap, frivolous manner there are brides glassing people, heads being stomped in and more.

But the main drive is the message that Mitsuko shouldn’t have to be anything other than herself, especially if men are involved. Tag ends on a strange, yet powerful, note that girls should not grow up expecting to be playthings for men. 

Order here.