How do you write about a movie that you really like when you’re not entirely sure what happened? That is the dilemma I find myself in when writing about the 2002 Japanese cult classic Suicide Club. I love this movie and I’ve seen it at least a dozen times but I’m still not entirely sure about what happened or what the message is. I guess the easiest way to start is with the plot.
The movie takes place over five days. On the first day, fifty-four schoolgirls line up on a train track and throw themselves in front of an oncoming train, for no apparent reason. The aftermath is grisly.
Ryô Ishibashi stars as Kuroda, a detective investigating the mass suicide. If he seems familiar, it’s because he was Aoyama in Audition. The movie follows his investigation into the mass suicides suddenly affecting Japan and the impact they have on his family.
The next day, a group of students line up on the roof of their school and all but one jump off.
The results are as graphic as you’d expect, especially if you have the unrated version of the movie.
Kuroda and his team go to investigate there, but are unsure if they should classify the suicides as a crime. Also, what’s up with these mysterious bags full of rolls of skin stitched together that keep turning up at the scene?
On the third day, Mitsuko (Saya Hagiwara) is hit by her boyfriend, Masa (Noriyoshi Shioya), when he throws himself off a building. Masa dies afterwards. Mitsuko doesn’t and tells her boyfriend, “I have to keep living.”
The movie then follows her attempts to understand Masa’s suicide.
Meanwhile, the Bat (Yoko Kamon) is a hacker who’s discovered a website that predicts the suicides before they happen. There are dots representing all the suicides that are added before they’re reported.
The next day, Kuroda receives a phone call from a boy telling him that there’s no suicide club and asking him if he’s connected with himself. There’s a montage of people killing themselves and saying things like kill yourself before you kill someone else. People go about their lives and do mundane things and do completely insane things, like this lady who chops her hand up, without blinking an eye.
The Bat is kidnapped and taken to the lair of Genesis, who’s played by the Japanese glam-rocker Rolly. Genesis keeps people and animals tied up in white sheets in an underground bowling alley.
He sings a song while one of his thugs rapes and kills a woman. Genesis takes responsibility for the rash of suicides, but is he really the perpetrator? And what is their link to the preteen pop group, Dessert (Misspelled as “Dessart” in the subtitles)?
I really can’t say anymore without giving away major spoilers. I think the main thing that can be taken from this movie is the way that suicides seem to spread after one high-profile suicide. This is known as the Werther effect and is an actual phenomenon.
Also, like the movie Pulse, it seems to be commenting on the effects of loneliness and how well people know themselves.
I’m still trying to solve this movie and I may not quite understand it, but it’s still deeply entertaining. It’s well-acted and for me the joy is really in the music. The first group suicide is done to the cheeriest pop music ever. Genesis’ song is actually quite beautiful and something I would listen to in real life. Watch this movie is what I’m trying to say, even if you don’t understand it.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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