For me a masterly example of Takashi Miike's ability to convince with unexpected genre twists: starting with a kind a social analysis and - after reaching the turning point in Hasumi's dream sequence - merging into a splatter movie, but both halfs kept together with the leitmotif of "Jack the Knife".
"Magnificent!" The 2nd movie of Miike that I've watched, after "Audition." This movie is so Miike. More blood, brilliant script, exciting from the beginning to the end, though it's more than 2 hours long.
unsettling film from miike, one of the directors who has tended to take youth the most seriously; miike sets up the school as a cruel microcosm of a reactionary society, increasing the casual exploitation and cruelty until the vicious finale seems unavoidable. miike's use of the long shot as basic block of dramatic film making is unparalleled right now, at a simple craft level, especially among genre directors.
A tense thriller by Miike with a quite accurate statement on educational systems, that seems to be completely avoided by other school-based slashers; "evil" is everywhere, but it most often doesn't stem from the students or an external factor, but the educators themselves (who in such films are mostly portrayed as victims or the benefactors). "Evil" is a chain, not a nature.
What begins as a mildly interesting and atmospheric study of a troubled mind and a dysfunctional social microcosm turns into a tasteless gorefest for splatter fans. If you love seeing pupils shot by the dozen then this is for you. Everyone who expects decency from film should stay away.
Awesome movie with good acting, solid production work and a heady mix of social commentary and unbridled Miike madness. The dramatic turns works well as does the gory violence and black humour. For such a prolific director this is a stand out effort for sure. Highly recommended.