Lesson of Evil (2012, Takashi Miike)

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve watched a Miike movie. I caught the Zebraman double-feature at the beginning of 2012, and he has made nine new ones since then. Here’s one of those, a high-school horror/slasher that’s fortunately better than One Missed Call. Acting, cinematography all quite good, but the top IMDB comment “brutal fun, but nothing more” seems accurate.

Mr. Hasumi (Hideaki Ito of The Princess Blade, Over Your Dead Body) is the hotshot new teacher, good looking, sensitive to his students’ problems. He gets involved in everyone’s business, seemingly as a benevolent authority-type. Student Keisuke leads a cellphone exam-cheating ring and teacher Radio Tsurii may be blocking cell signals to stop it. Mr. Kume is blowing his student Masahiko, and Mr. Shibahara is sexually blackmailing student Miya. Rina is being bullied at school, or perhaps her jittery dad is overreacting – we’re never sure. The dad dies in a fire after Hasumi gets involved, and Hasumi “rescues” Miya but then starts sleeping with her, using Mr. Kume’s apartment, which he’s blackmailing Kume to use, and maybe Hasumi’s not such a hero after all.

I didn’t think it seemed very much like a horror movie by this point, but then Hasumi kidnaps cheater Keisuke and tortures him to death with a soldering iron. Flashback to Hasumi’s time at Harvard, during which he and another grad student went on a small murder spree. Hasumi is more ambitious now, grabs a shotgun and massacres every kid at school during a halloween-party lock-in. He basically murders everyone in the entire movie, except a couple kids who fool him at the end, then as he’s feigning insanity while being locked up, we’re promised “TO BE CONTINUED” by the titles.

After suffering through a scratchy German record of “Mack the Knife” a few times, we’re finally rewarded with an American rock version during the massacre. Oh also Hasumi’s shotgun sometimes turns into a fleshy Naked Lunchy eyeball thing that speaks in the Harvard guy’s voice.

Radio Tsurii was Mitsuru Fukikoshi (star of Sion Sono’s Cold Fish), soldering victim Keisuke was Shota Sometani (star of Sion Sono’s Himizu), pederast Shibahara was Takayuki Yamada (star of Sion Sono’s Shinjuku Swan) and one of the girls was Fumi Nikaido (star of Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play In Hell). Why am I suddenly getting the urge to check out some Sion Sono movies?