TAG [BIFAN 2015] – Review

Sion Sono is back already for game of Tag like you've never played before....Read More

TAG (リアル鬼ごっこ)

  • Directed by: Sion Sono
  • Starring: Reina Triendl, Mariko Shinoda, Erina Mano, Yuki Sakurai
  • The Film: One day, the craziest thing happens that sends Mitsuko running for her life from a deadly force. It seems female highs school students have become the targets of ghosts with various appearances including a groom with a pig’s face and female teacher with a machine gun.


The film centers around the character Mitsuko (Reina Triendl), an innocent and frail high school girl. When she experiences the mysterious and violent horror of her peers getting chopped in half all around her, she sets off on a long run of confusion and terror that takes her to several key locations. At all these locations, the mystery behind what is happening becomes more and more confusing to Mitsuko as her sanity and true identity become questioned.

At first, Tag feels like the director is just out to have some serious fun. A near all female cast of high school girls fighting random gusts of wind that send their skirts flying up to expose their underwear, combined with the blood soaked school uniforms from outrageous death scenes is reminiscent of a Final Destination movie…but then the layers start to pile on.

There is much more to Tag than just wild, comical death and violence. Tag very much deals with those mysterious parts of our brain: the conscious and unconscious, as well as perception. Even to the viewer, it feels like Mitsuko is having some kind of a nightmare that she can not wake from. So, the whole film feels like it is taking place in some kind of limbo.

There is even a character at Mitsuko’s school named Sur, for surreal, who talks of an existence of multiple dimensions. She says, “for every choice you make, there is another you in an alternate reality that did not make that choice,” and that doing or not doing something ultimately affects the rest of your life. She also says you can re-direct your path by doing something spontaneous. Well, Tag is full of spontaneity. If the whole film were a kind of race course (it kind of is), something unexpected would happen at almost every bend in the road. These surprises make the film a ton of fun.

Without giving too much away, the other actresses from the poster, Mariko Shinoda and Erina Mano, play an interesting part in telling the main story of Mitsuko. Shinoda as Keiko, a confused bride-to-be on her wedding day which gets very out of hand. And Mano as Izumi, in the middle of running a marathon that gets terrorized (There is actually a lot of running in this movie). These three ladies combine to tell the main story in almost a magical way. Where the film ends up will be surprisingly unexpected for most, in the freshest of ways.

Again, Sion Sono does does not disappoint with his latest film, Tag. The music is perfect and helps make for an emotional experience as well. Tag is one of Sono’s shorter films at around 85 minutes which make it a nice quick way to get your Sono fix when on a tight schedule. It is an awesome addition to his ever expanding filmography and I will be buying this day one when it releases on Blu-ray! Recommended! 


Fun Info: From Master Class Q & A with Sion Sono (BiFan 2015)

  • Sion Sono wants to work with Reina Triendl again, possibly making her a vampire!
  • Sion Sono likes to do a lot of research before making a film, and currently he is researching wizards and witches!
  • Sion Sono does NOT like blood or any type of physical violence in reality.


One Comment

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