July 29, 2008

Blu-ray Review: Battle Royale (2000)

A Japanese Junior High Class gets to go on a field trip! Granted, most field trips involve a day at the zoo, or a visit to the local prison to do "dances" for the inmates (I'm still sore from my 8th Grade trip), but this one is way more fun than that; because on this trip, the kids get to kill each other!

Literally blind vengeance.
Luckily, Mr Rourke lets them use Fantasy Island to host their crazy little roustabout, although Tattoo isn't too happy about it. You see, Mr. Rourke promised him a week alone together on the island, filled with back rubs and candy canes... and with all of that thrown out the window in favor of kid-on-kid murder, he's a sad little midget. One of the kids kills him with a cheese grater right out of the gate anyways, so no worries.

"Aloha my ass... You owe me a rubdown bitch!"
With the half-man out of the way, the kids proceed to off each other in various ways; Karate, machine guns, barbed-wire toothbrushes... one of them even gets the pleasure of using the most dangerous weapon of all: an electrified rag-doll!

I won't ruin the ending for you here, but suffice it to say that no one makes it back on the bus. You knew what this was.

"You want to hug Zappy, mister?"
What a wicked little movie! The concept of Junior High kids killing other kids in order to ensure their own survival is a pretty strong meditation on society. These days, it even feels as if we're all headed in that direction as a people, doesn't it? It's also a pretty cool premise for a Horror movie.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with the movie.
I expected this one to be much more uncomfortable to watch than it was; don't get me wrong, it was disturbing, but it just wasn't as over-the-top or offensive as I'd imagined it would be. I know the term classy seems out of place when discussing most Horror movies, and especially a film with a premise like this one, but this movie is classy. This quote from the director pretty much sums up the message of the film: "He described the end message in the film, 'Run', as his advice to the next generation."

It's all a pretty disturbing meditation about Governmental control, and just how far one might go to keep its people subservient, and afraid to rebel. 

She's not afraid of anything.
Seriously? Lego toys?

I can't lie, that's kinda cool.
They're planning a U.S. remake of this movie... what a surprise. If there is a God, he won't let it happen.

*Addendum- The storyline of The Hunger Games is oddly similar to that of Battle Royale. Only one of the series is a worldwide phenomenon though. Go figure.

The original Katniss Everdeen?
It's kids killing kids, so you know that there's plenty of brutality on display here. Even though most of it is on the psychological level, there's plenty of visceral nastiness here to satisfy most Horror fans.

You have failed Math for the last time, Yuriko!

The love scene that almost happened.
"If I survive, can I go home?"
"Yes, but only if everyone else is dead."

Listen to your teacher! Also, Big Brother is watching... and controlling... and manipulating...

"Who else didn't do their homework? Huh? HUH?!?"
This is what top-tier Horror should be; smart, disturbing, and thought provoking. Battle Royale is a movie about the ills of Governmental control, and what a chilling topic it is. I recommend owning this one for sure, as it is a Modern Day Classic in every sense of the word.


Battle Royale is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.


Go-Go is in this!


  1. Great movie. Great review. I like how ya'll do the reviews here. Just found this site and it's my new favorite horror movie blog.

  2. Hey thanks a lot. We try to make it fun around here!

    Also, this is absolutely a great movie, you have good taste. :)