***The following review is an encore presentation for the Week of Reel Whorror! ***
Attack Girls' Swim Team Versus the Undead
1 hour, 28 minutes
A Netflix Night
It takes a special kind of cinephile to even consider a movie titled, Attack Girls' Swim Team vs the Undead. By the way, it's also known as Joshikyôei hanrangun in its native Japan and Undead Pool by IMDb and the international community. My interest was spawned by a trailer preceding the film, Siren. Never heard of it? Both are Japanese horror films starring adult video (AV) stars. Interested now?
Attack Girls features AV star Sasa Nada as Aki, an orphan raised by a madman and trained as an assassin. Aki wanted more from life; specifically, she dreamed of being a normal high school girl. One night she escapes the complex and slips into a nearby high school. She makes fast friends with a student who encourages her to join the swim team. It just so happens, one of their members has fallen ill and they'd have to forfeit the meet without another swimmer.
Aki agrees and everything seems to be going great. Aki even discovers that her new friend shares a similar birthmark on her chest, leading them to realize they were twin sisters separated at birth! Nothing good comes without a price, however, as the sick swimmer was not an isolated incident. Most of the students and teachers have fallen ill. The strange disease causes those aflicted to turn into shambling, flesh-eating zombies. For reasons unknown, the rest of the swim team seem unaffected by the virus. Under Aki's leadership the girls go on the offensive, trying to stay alive long enough to find a cure.
Is that plot dense and crazy enough for you? If so, don't worry about the hateful swim coach who is brutally murdered only to return unscathed as the nicest teacher on campus. Or let's not ponder why one teacher, when zombified, only speaks English (and yet still gets subtitled)! Attack Girls is a pool of insane ideas that forms a gooey, gushy, sexy, steamy, awkward mess instead of congealing into a poorly executed film. Problems range from minor ones like Aki's vanishing 'birthmark' to a crazy corkscrew mindfuck of a third act where absolutely anything, and I mean anything, goes.
Attack Girls is also a misnomer for our band of high school heroines. They should be called Attacked Girls because they are just a group of swimmers who join forces under the leadership of Aki, the only girl with any true fighting skills. Aki does get in a few solid blows, but director Kôji Kawano seems more inclined to have Aki recollect the flute-induced sexual rutting her old mentor gave her at the complex.
The steamy bits aren't all bizarre rape sequences. Any shamelessly exploitative movie rife with teenage girls wouldn't be worth its salt if it didn't include some girl-on-girl action.
The gore and zombie effects aren't much to write home about either. There's a good deal of heavy makeup and colored corn syrup splashed about, but it's all so hokey it could never be considered cringe-worthy.
The Money Shot
I've only scratched the surface of all the problems Attacks Girls suffers from. That said, it's the kind of twaddle that you can't appreciate without having seen it. I recall feeling it was confusing, never-ending crap as the credits rolled, but since then I've found myself smirking at the outrageous silliness of it all. Sometimes terrible movies reach a noteworthy plateau of their own. Would Attack Girls' Swim Team vs the Undead qualify as one of those? You decide.