What’s ‘Schoolgirl Apocalypse’ About?
Japanese schoolgirl Sakura (Higarino) has her idyllic small-town life turned inside-out when the local men start savagely killing the women. Armed with only her kyudo bow for protection and an English textbook for comfort, Sakura journeys through an apocalyptic world of mayhem. As trauma from witnessing the violent deaths of friends and family drives her toward madness, Sakura takes refuge in an animated dreamworld where she meets Billy (Mackenzie), a character from her English text! Billy helps her survive murderous zombies, as well as an even more formidable foe in Aoi (Tsujimoto), as she races to find real-world Billy and answers to the questions: Why is all this happening? And who or what is behind it?
Our ‘Schoolgirl Apocalypse’ Review
Import films are always risky territory when it comes to the undead as there is regular films, massively extreme films, and completely random off the top what did I just watch films. All of them can be good though some are clearly better than others. This one kind of lands squarely between the last two sets though is quite a fun watch. John Cairns freshmen job in the director’s chair gives us not only a solid movie but a filmmaker that I hope we’re going to be seeing a lot more of in both the zombie and horror genre in general.
Clearly I liked it. In fact I REALLY liked it and you can just skip the rest of this (I’m trying to be as spoiler free as possible in the review) and order yourself a copy!
We don’t get your standard zombie in this one. What we instead see is an infection type film that turns all of the men into what is the film’s version of a zombie. Think the rage virus from ’28 Days Later’ for men with more zombie-esque tendencies! The women are all trying to just survive at this point and we follow through the viewpoint of the lead, Sakura, as she tries to mostly stay hidden or deal with the infected with her bow & arrow. Let’s just say it’s realistic here as she’s not a 100% perfect shot as everyone else who picks up a bow and arrow in a movie seems to be. (I used to do archery too, thankfully this was more on the realistic side.)
We see her come into her own as she goes out into the world and also meets others. She meets a mother in denial about her son and quite the killer in Aoi. So tons of women who get by in surviving from being on the run or dealing with those who are infected. All of that being said this is not your typical splatter film or full of sexism as the name and thought of Japanes schoolgirls all too often implies in the genre. The action sequences have a very classic zombie film feel and the special effects on the infected are truly top notch as they capture the look I know you’ll want to see.
The one areas that I was iffy on is some of what motivates Sakura to move forward is when she daydreams or hallucinates about ‘Billy’ who is from her textbook and look at the very end. Honestly if the graphics here were better my singular complaint would probably haven’t been there as I just didn’t feel it matched the style of the rest of the film. The other portion is the CGI at the very end which I feel put the final damper on the film.
Someone please, please, PLEASE toss a huge pile of money at John Cairns to release a remastered version of the film fixing these two areas (and more money to make another movie!) I honestly really enjoyed the film and think that even with these two glaringly painful areas that this is one of the better zombie films I’ve seen released in the past few years. He’s made some interesting characters and a great new take on the zombie genre.
I highly suggest picking this one up!
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