So you want to play a game? Well, Re/Member (Remember Member) will take you into one whether you want to or not, and you’ll keep getting murdered by a scary red child until you figure it out. This Netflix Original film is directed by Eiichiro Hasumi, written by Harumi Doki, and adapted from the manga of the same name by Welzard. It stars Kanna Hashimoto, Gordon Maeda, Maika Yamamoto, Fuju Kamio, Kotaro Daigo, Mayuu Yokoya, and Shuntaro Yanagi.
The premise of Re/Member is simple, a group of six teens finds themselves trapped in the “Body Search,” a game that feels much like any Creepypasta you will read – with rules, lore, and very real stakes. Rooted in a Soviet Union ghost story about a girl who died, the teens must find each piece of the girl’s dismembered body and reassemble it, lest they be forced to repeat the same day over and over, brutally dying each new turn. With a twist in the third act that throws the game’s rules out the window, Re/Member may not reinvent the time loop rules, but it does manage to offer an exhilarating ride that never forgets that the teens are still kids.
In Body Search, the Red Person hunts each and every member down, brutally killing them. With some interesting slasher mechanics, like the fact that the Red Person appears if any one of them is alone, the tormenting entity forces each student to prepare for death. This causes the group to bond and grow together as they work to figure out the mystery and find the pieces so that they can just get back to their lives.
The two pieces of Re/Member that work to make the film a great watch are the way the characters work together and the violence on display in the film—more specifically, how it’s brought to life with a mixture of practical effects and CGI, with the former shining brightly. With regard to the character dynamics, the sense of sportsmanship and companionship that quickly starts to build once the time loop is figured out feels genuine. Problem-solving together and ultimately crossing gaps that social dynamics have placed between them. On the effects side, the violence in Re/Member ranges from jump scares and genuinely pretty terrifying to absurd and really chaotic in the last act. Bloody but with full knowledge that young adults are the core audience, Re/Member lives in the fun PG-13 horror vein of the early aughts that makes the time loop worth it.
That said, when it comes to narrative, its structure is clearly from a manga, with all the absurdity that comes with it, alá Another in some ways, but slightly toned down. There are gaps in the consistency of how rules are applied that may make you tilt your head and question, “Does it work that way?” However, none of the plot holes or inconsistencies disrupt how fun the film is to watch and the ride you get to go on as a viewer. While there are some repetitive elements, Re/Member has a stride that works for fans of this brand of horror. The only real gripe that sticks is how the stakes rise only to deflate in the next act, but hey, it’s still chaotically great.
In truth, Re/Member captures the early aughts and the manga death game genre expertly, bringing out nostalgia with its embrace of horror tropes and more. While the plot itself is lukewarm at best, the actors make the most of it, and the thoughtful use of blood and effects make even moments that are cut away from land – like the moment at the very start of the body game. While it feels like a haunted house at times instead of just a slasher, that element fits with the teenage characters. Add in a damn good score for it all that uses drums to propel the pace, and you have got a must-watch.
Re/Member is streaming now exclusively on Netflix.
- Rating - 7/107/10
Re/Member captures the early aughts and the manga death game genre expertly, bringing out nostalgia with its embrace of horror tropes and more.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.