Japanese high school girls are in big trouble in surreal blood-drenched art-house horror Tag (2015)

Very much not the bawdy Jeremy Renner comedy vehicle, “Tag” is a movie I’ll cheerfully admit to having tracked down after a bizarre gif piqued my morbid curiosity. Given that the gif shows a scene from the first ten minutes of the movie and it just gets weirder and more bizarre from there, that should give you an idea of what you’re in for.

From cult director Sion Sono, “Tag” brings us the story of Mitsuko, a typical Japanese teenager whose school trip gets off to a horrifically bad start. Pursued by an unstoppable force of nature, Mitsuko’s day becomes increasingly surreal and disjointed as she flees from one dream-like horror to another, always pursued by some unseen malevolent force.

Put together with the unstable and capricious logic of a dream, “Tag” similarly defies cohesive description and needs to be experienced to be…well, probably not understood exactly, but maybe appreciated? It borrows some of its structure from video games and weaves in elements of anime as it essays a fascinating cultural meta-commentary on the male gaze in films and video games while revelling in horrifically gratuitous gore and violence which, while often rendered digitally, loses none of its shock value.

It’s likely to be something of an acquired taste and may not float your boat as it teeters uneasily between cartoonish ultraviolence and gratuitous ‘torture porn’, it throws in titillation and tastelessness in equal measure but there’s no denying it’s a unique viewing experience.

6/10 

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