“Re/Member” is a Japanese supernatural horror film streaming on Netflix that tries to throw all sorts of gruesome bodily horror scenes at its viewers and then also provides a backbone of drama to it. The film tells the story of high school student Asuka and her five classmates, who are pulled into the supernatural realm and made to play a horrific game called Body Search, where they have to find the dismembered parts of a real dead body. If watched for very light and casual entertainment, “Re/Member” can be a fair choice, even though the prosthetic and visual appeal of the scare scenes do let it down at times.
‘Re/Member’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
In an opening scene that somewhat sets the tone for the rest of the film, a young girl of eight or nine is chased around her house by a sinister-looking man. The girl clutches on to her life and her favorite doll, trying to hide from her assailant, but all attempts fail, and she is brutally murdered by the man.
Many years pass, and we are introduced to the protagonist, Asuka, who is a high school student going through her teenage years. Unlike her mother’s beliefs or wishes, Asuka does not have any friends at school, and all her classmates treat her like an outcast as if the girl does not exist at all. On this particular day, July 5, Tuesday, Asuka walks to her school, along with many other students, and comes across a set of experiences throughout the school day. While on her way in the morning, she sees a cat get run over by a bus, and then at her class, a few of the students pull a prank on an introverted boy named Shota. During the lunch break, Asuka has to sit in one corner all by herself to eat the large portions her mother lovingly packs every day for all her friends. Disappointed by the loneliness, the girl steps out in the yard to have her lunch when she seems to hallucinate many bloodied hands coming out of a well at the place. She has to move again, and this time she finds the librarian, Mr. Yashiro, tending to some plants, where a sudden gust of wind makes some of the earthen pots fall and shatter. Asuka now seems to hear the voice of a young girl requesting that she find her body parts.
Unable to understand whatever is going on, Asuka bears through the day and prepares to go to sleep at home when her phone starts ringing with messages from an unknown number, telling her that someone called the Red Person would be coming after her. Creeped out terribly, the girl goes to sleep, but the moment the clock strikes twelve, Asuka strangely finds herself in her school chapel, along with her classmates Shota, Takahiro, Rumiko, Rie, and Atsushi. Before the six can even think about their strange situation, a demonic girl child, covered entirely in blood and carrying a doll in her hands, kills all of them in the most brutal manner. As if waking up from a nightmare, Asuka wakes up the next day only to find that it is the same day repeating itself, July 5. Going to school, she goes through the same set of experiences as she already had on the seemingly previous day, but the other four classmates (the fifth classmate, Atsushi, never comes to school and is very close to dropping out) remember all their experiences from the last night. Realizing that they were in some kind of supernatural loop, the six students now try to break the loop and save themselves from the dangerous ordeal.
What Is The Body Search Game?
As the high school students gather and discuss their strange situation, Shota, who is the typical nerd in the group, explains that he had heard of this Body Search game or event and tries to look it up on the internet as well. The Body Search game, as explained through the events of “Re/Member,” is basically an occurrence in which a group of high school students is chosen by some supernatural force to play a game. The main objective of this game, or search, is to find the dismembered body parts of a murder victim in the places where the murderer has hidden them. The supernatural force that compels the students to partake in this search is basically the victim itself, who also takes on a demonic form, known as the “Red Person,” to chase the students around and try to kill them. This game starts every night at twelve, when the players are magically brought back to the place around which the murder had taken place, and they need to find and gather the severed body parts. Upon finding the parts, the players are to place them inside the empty coffin of the victim, which is kept inside the school chapel in this case. Until the students can find all of the body parts and place them in an ordered manner inside the coffin, the day will keep repeating in a loop, and nobody other than the group of students will have any idea about this. Each night ends when a player is found out and killed by the Red Person, who is constantly searching for them throughout the place, and the player again wakes up on the morning of the same day.
The whole purpose of this “Body Search” game seems to be the plan of the vengeful and lost spirit of the murdered victim since their body was never found and, therefore, they could never get a proper farewell. In this case, it becomes clear that the murder victim was the same eight-year-old girl we had seen at the beginning of “Re/Member”. An elementary school student named Miko Onoyama had been murdered near the school some thirty years ago, and her body was never found since the perpetrator had dismembered it and hidden it all over the area. Therefore, it is now the girl who turns into the Red Person and forces Asuka, Takahiro, Rumiko, Rie, Shota, and Atsushi to find her body. Even though the violence that the Red Person lashes out at the students every night seems to be experienced by them, there is no lasting effect of it.
As the six gradually find the body parts and gather them in the coffin, they are left with only one last piece—the most crucial head. Since the six keep living the same day over and over, they now decide to utilize the time in the morning as well and visit the abandoned house where the girl had been murdered. They learn that the doll, which the girl had named Emily, was the only friend the girl had, and one day when she was at home alone, she was murdered. The six students find a hole in the wall covered up with planks of wood, and when they pull the planks out, they see the real doll kept inside. At that very moment, a ghostly figure spooks them, and when they turn their attention back to the hole in the wall, the doll is nowhere to be seen. The severed head of the murdered child had been stuffed into the doll and hidden inside the hole in the wall, but the students could not do anything about it since it was daytime and the time of the evil game of chasing had not yet started. From that night on, the Red Person turns even more monstrous, as the figure of the doll adds to that of the girl, making it much taller and more menacing than before.
Not only does this new Red Person run faster, making it more difficult to avoid, but it also poses a different threat too. While the monster was previously only killing the students, now it starts to eat them up, too, noisily chomping and grinding through their flesh and bones. When this happens, the eaten student ceases to exist in the loop, and they do not turn up again. This is what happens to Rie as her friends return to school to find a different girl posing to be the class president, which was Rie’s role, and none of the other students remember anyone named Rie. At the moment, the remaining five grow concerned as to whether the person who is eaten up will vanish from real existence forever and decide to end the game as soon as they can. It is also around this time that Asuka comes up with the theory that the head of the girl that they have been looking for is probably hidden inside the head of the monstrous Red Person. The reason she states this is that the doll had sunk into the pool with its head first, meaning that the head was heavier than the rest of its body. This theory does turn out to be true, and the five students now aim at severing the monster’s head from its body.
Why Were These Six Particular Students Chosen For The Game?
Along with the supernatural horror plot, “Re/Member” is also about real-world issues that teenagers face, pertaining to social anxiety and being left out by peers. The very reason why these six particular students had been chosen for this game was that they were all either extremely lonely, feeling abandoned, or in some dire stress or conflict about their life which they were not able to share with anyone else. Asuka had no friends at school since the time when she once fell sick, and the girl was treated like an outcast by everyone. Takahiro was an extremely skilled basketball player, but he had refused to try a professional career in it because he feared he might fail on the big stage. But the boy was also unable to live with this, as he also wanted to showcase his talents, and this dilemma was eating away at him. Rumiko was in a relationship with an older man who worked as a bartender, and she suspected that her boyfriend was actually married to someone else. Rumiko’s suspicions do come true when she finds out about her boyfriend’s wife, but she, too, keeps all this to herself. Despite being the class president and the most popular girl in the school, Rie was a sensitive girl, and her apparent friends were not like her at all, making her feel quite alone. Shota was shy and timid and, therefore, always the target of bullies at school. Atsushi was also an extremely talented basketball player in middle school, and he was sure to receive professional offers, but the boy injured his foot and could never recover from it. Instead of working at his dream, Atsushi gave it all up and became a recluse, never leaving home and about to drop out of high school education as well.
All six of the students feared the judgments of others in society and found themselves alone, which attracted the attention of the Red Person. It is only after the six are made to live through the horrific experiences each night that they become close friends and start to share their feelings with each other. Each of the students goes through a transformation due to this experience—Asuka and Rie get the group of best friends that they both wanted; Rumiko shares about the mess of her romantic life with her two girl friends and gets support from them, too; Takahiro finds motivation and also love in his childhood friend Asuka, whom he had abandoned only to fit in with the crowd in his school; Shota grows more confident in himself; and Atsushi finally decides to step up and help instead of being a recluse in these nightly episodes as well. From the scenes at the end of “Re/Member,” it becomes very clear that the Red Person is a figurative representation of each of their loneliness, and the monster trying to kill them each night in order to not let them advance to the next day is symbolic of loneliness taking a mental toll on a person, stopping them from making any important progression in life.
‘Re/Member’ Ending Explained: What Happens To The Red Person? Does Takahiro Ultimately Remember Asuka?
When Asuka talks to the librarian, Mr. Yashiro, suspecting that he knows something about this Body Search game, the man reveals that he, too, had once been made to participate in it. But as Mr. Yashiro reveals, he did not have any memory of it and realized his participation after finding a book on the Body Search game. The details of the game being played in different parts of the world which he found in this book, and the fact that he had great memories with his schoolmates who were never his friends, made Yashiro realize that he, too, had played the game. Asuka becomes extremely concerned with this detail of the players not remembering anything once the game is over, as she does not want to lose her new friends. She tells Takahiro about this and also about her fear, and the boy now promises to remember her and find her as his lover. Kissing Asuka, Takahiro gives her his beloved tie pin, which he always keeps with himself.
That night during their Body Search game, the students give their all against the Red Person, but the monster manages to eat up Rumiko, Shota, and Atsushi before Takahiro can behead it. The severed head of the little girl does indeed fall out of it, and Takahiro and Asuka now attempt to place it inside the coffin at the chapel. But the Red Person monster, now with a slashed head, returns to stop them, and it traps and chews up Takahiro. Before this, the boy once again promises to find Asuka, and now there is only the girl left to finish the job. Determined not to give in to her loneliness and to keep social interaction with people, Asuka defeats the Red Person monster by getting it killed and then placing the girl’s head inside the coffin. Resting her head on the coffin, she falls asleep and wakes up in her home, with the date finally changed to the 6th.
At school, the six friends do not seem to recognize each other again, behaving as they did earlier. However, an upcoming school festival requires student volunteers, and for this, a lucky lottery draw is made. Surprisingly, it is these same six students who are selected to volunteer, making it seem like fate and the world give them another chance, this time in the real world, to bond with each other. Although they do not seem to remember their earlier struggle together, the tie-pin that Asuka had kept with her now drops to the ground, and Takahiro finds it. Approaching Asuka with the tie pin, he hands it to her and recalls the promise he had earlier made of finding her no matter what.
The ending of “Re/Member” perhaps suggests that being eaten up by the Red Person wipes one’s memory, but surviving the game and killing the monster, in the end, keeps one’s memory intact. Therefore, Asuka probably remembers it all but is too shy to approach the others since they would not believe her. This theory would also perhaps fit because if every participant forgets the experience, then how could someone has written a book on the game? The only exception of one being eaten up by the monster and yet remembering the game seems to be Takahiro, and the reason he can do so seems to be pure and genuine love. It is his love that makes Takahiro remember, and that is how he finds Asuka. It might be that he, too, remembered it all and was only pretending not to at school, as he too would be disbelieved. But now that he finds his pin with Asuka, he believes the whole experience as truth. Another theory is also possible to think of—that all of the participants remember the experiences, but they all shy away from talking to their classmates about it and take it only as a dream. Close friends, therefore, fade back into classmates and strangers once again. This might also be supported by Atsushi’s decision to return to school, as he does after the Body Game is over, as he seems to have retained his learning from experience.
‘Re/member’ Post-Credits Scene Explained: Will the Red Person Return?
Although the TV news on the morning of July 6 showed that the body of a young girl, who had been murdered thirty years ago, had been found during the reconstruction of the school chapel, no clue about her murderer was revealed. In a post-credits scene, “Re/Member” shows the same well that Asuka had earlier seen in the schoolyard. Deep inside the well is a paper with the news of the murder of a young girl named “Miko Onoyama,” making it clear that the girl we have been seeing is Miko. This name and the photograph now magically changes into “Asuka Morisaki,” and the photograph does resemble a young version of our protagonist Asuka. What such a revelation might mean is not hinted at by the film anymore, and it might even be coincidence that a girl named Asuka had been murdered at an amusement park. Or it might even be considered a plug-in to keep viewers intrigued for a possible sequel. Whether the murderer is the same man is also not clear, but there might very well be a serial killer on the loose, and every time a girl is murdered, the Red Person wakes up to find the dismembered body by selecting a new group of students each time.
See More: Who Are Miko Onoyama And Asuka Morisaki In ‘Re/Member’ End Credit Scene? Can There Be A Sequel?
“Re/Member” is a 2023 Drama Thriller film directed by Eiichirô Hasumi.