Friday, 23 August 2013

Attack Girls' Swim Team vs. The Undead (Undead Pool) - review

2007 (Japan)

Contains spoilers.

A swimming costume if you think about it, is quite the sensible choice when it comes to zombie dispatching apparel. Hold on, I've just done that gag...

What the hell did I just watch? No really, I don't know. I'm sure it wasn't a zombie film. It's the usual infected but not dead scenario, though I think they'd have liked to have them pulse-less if they'd had 'the', actually 'a', budget, especially as Sayaka (Yuria Hidaka), the mad scientist behind the chaos does throw away a comment that he has discovered the secret to resurrect the dead. I'm also sure exposing and exploiting leading swim-girl Aki (Sasa Handa's) titties as much as possible was obviously the film's main focus, driving the story and narrative. But beyond this I'm fucked if I know.

Aki is the new girl on the block and her first day at high school is also the penultimate days training session for the girls' swim team. It's also significantly the day a doctor and his assistant turn up with an immunisation to save teacher and student alike from an all new and dangerous virus that is on the loose.

The thing is, and this will be a little spoilerish, there's no airborne virus to be worried about and it's the injection itself that's the problem, turning all those that received it into crazed killing machines. Fotunately though, in the maelstrom of flesh gorging and severed limbs, Aki and the swim team realise that they alone are unaffected, something to do with chlorine, and they're going to fight back.

If you're interested at all in the rambling incoherent and frankly ludicrous story you're watching the wrong film. At heart it's a highly questionable soft-porn low budget horror; a cheap sexploitation movie with a fetish for the systematic and brutal rape of the dangerously close to age-inappropriate. As bad taste goes, it's right up there. Now I don't mind the contentious or the questionable and thoroughly admired Deadgirl for how it played around with a dark and extremely bad-taste narrative; the problem with Swim Team though, is it fumbles at it all like a thirteen year old boy. Shower scene? Why not two. Two girls alone? Let's have them clumbsily grope at each other in a drawn out scene that totally outstays its welcome, all the time hinting they might actually be long-lost biological sisters. Flashbacks to a secret past? Let's have her naked and abused in an appalling manner but add some stuff that makes it not only look like she's actually not too upset by it all but might even be encouraging or enjoying it.

As the film progresses so does this need to degrade and demean, culminating in a set of final sequences that epitomises all that is wrong with this films approach to titilation as Aki is rendered immobile then stripped naked and threatened with death and rape. I'm sure the baffling vagina-death-laser finale was supposed to symbolise a feminist triumph over male oppression and make everything better but actress Sasa Handa is still fully in shot, naked with the camera taking every advantage.

The story is contrived to enable the film to move from one soft-core but dark and exploitative scene to another, and another reason for Aki or Sayaka, or both to lose their top. The zombie outbreak is the contrivance to enable some weak blood splatter and gratuitous but cheap deaths. And the zombies are a mish-mash of styles with those in the background obeying either the Romero or Boyle trope and those at the forefront behaving more like deranged sadistic serial killers than primal rabid undead monsters. There's no rhyme or reason to any of it; it never makes sense and I don't really think there was ever any desire for it to do so.

It really looks like Director Koji Kawano had little to no budget with effects consistently as amateurish as the cinematography. Clearly artificial limbs are thrown into frame, blood is squirted from bottles just out of shot, and infected make-up is clearly dots of blue mascara or something. All this in itself isn't a game ender though. I'm all for a bit of a farce and with a bit more work and less of a need to work Aki's clothes off every given opportunity, I think there could have been a cheap but funny zom-com somewhere here.

Attack Girls' Swim Team vs the Undead is contrived nonsense with laughable special effects, amateurish film making and awkward acting. While some of the fighting and gore scenes are so bad I actually found myself enjoying them and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get some enjoyment from watching two unquestionably attractive ladies cavorting around in next to nothing, it's not enough to raise my opinion of the film. A cheap sleazy film truly deserving my first 1, but for introducing me to the concept of a vagina-death-laser I'll give it 2/10.



  1. I was curious about this one... I can't stay away from Japanese films, but I figured it wouldn't be any good. Sounds like what I expected except for that death laser... but after Big Tits Zombie, I shouldn't be surprised.

  2. jervaise brooke hamster30 September 2013 at 02:05

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