In Tezuka Gakuen High School, a schoolgirl by the name of Yuko Yamizaki commits suicide by throwing herself off the roof. Close by where she jumped is a script of a stage play ‘The Blue Eyed Angel’ she had written which was based on an incident at the school that happened 80 years previously in which a girl Sumiko fell in love with a German teacher Eugon Metcalfe. Their affair though was to end in tragedy. Machiko, a friend of Yuko is given the go ahead by the school principal to continue with staging the play as a tribute to Yuko. She finds out that Yuko had discovered a dark secret about the school which was connected to the play and she had put everything on a floppy disk after hacking into the school computer system. Somebody though doesn’t want the secret to be discovered as several of Machiko’s close friends who are investigating this mystery are being murdered one by one. The police put a persistent detective on the case. What is the dark secret the school is trying to hide and will Machiko survive long enough to see the stage play be performed?
The title of this movie is a bit misleading and I’m sure it will have many viewers will be thinking this is a movie about zombies but I can assure you it’s not. Then again perhaps a zombie movie might have been more exciting than what took place in the movie! There is an explanation about the title of the movie near the climax. The movie was released during a time when J-horror was at it’s most popular with The Ring having been released the previous year. The problem was a lot of crap was churned out during this period in order to try and cash in on The Ring. Studios were just jumping on the bandwagon hoping to make a quick buck. This movie unfortunately is just a standard formulaic murder mystery set in a Catholic school. It failed to engage me with it’s plot (which is full of holes btw!) and was quite dull if I’m being honest. The beginning of the movie suggested that it could have developed into something interesting but it just kind of fizzled out into nothing by the climax. The majority of the characters are suspected of being the murderer because they are made to look suspicious through their actions and the plot tries to throw in a couple of red herrings which fails miserably. Take for example a male student newly transferred to the school. For a newbie he seems to know a lot about the killings yet it is never explained how he’s managed to find out so much though it could be because he dated Yuko. Even the explanation at the end when the murderer is caught about something to do with some paintings was rather lame. By that time though I had become well and truly bored with the whole movie. There is hardly any tension, scares or suspense. The movie meanders along at such a slow pace throwing in the occasional excitement such as Machiko seeing some black robed figures doing some shady deals in the school basement just to wake up the viewer.
The acting is nothing to write home about but I suppose Kyoko Fukada who was just a rising star at the time did better than the rest as Machiko. I despair at some of the atrocious acting that Westerners give in Japanese movies and Thame Camus, an American actor who’s quite well known in Japan proved once and for all that he’s got absolutely zero talent. His performance as the teacher Mr Thornhill is plain awful. You just have to see the scene when he has a hissy fit in front of some students when his character discovers paintings of his schoolgirl lover all over a room. It’s embarrassing to watch.
School Day Of The Dead has nothing to really recommend it except if you’re a fan of Kyoko Fukada and want to see her early movies otherwise I wouldn’t bother with it. There are far better mystery/horror movies set in a Japanese high school elsewhere.
Sorry but I could only find a German trailer.
Sadako’s Rating: 2 stars out of 5