Posted: 03/10/2004

 

Tomie: Replay

(2000)

by Del Harvey



This DVD is available for purchase at HKFlix.com.


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A young girl is hospitalized. When an ultrasound examination reveals that there’s something moving inside her, a surgeon operates only to find himself faced with—not a baby, but the disembodied head of a beautiful girl.

Tomie: Replay takes its name from the strange hybrid of computer speak applied to the human experience. You may have overheard someone referring to another person’s need to rest and recuperate as “hitting the refresh button.” In the case of director Mitsuishi Fujirou’s film, this computer “reality” is applied liberally in terms of human regeneration.

As the film opens, a teenaged girl is rushed to the hospital. She is grossly pregnant and about to explode when a surgeon makes the first incision of her “C” section. The surgeon recoils in shock when the taut belly skin parts slightly to reveal not a baby but a beautiful girl’s face and one staring eye. It belongs, of course, to Tomie. Tomie’s head is placed in a giant vat of saline solution where it proceeds to grow a body.

Yes, it is a wacky concept and one which is only barely pulled off. This is accomplished mostly by focusing on anyone but Tomie. The hospital staff slowly goes insane and many commit suicide. As the story progresses, it is the surviving teenaged children of Tomie’s victims who must do battle with the vengeful regenerate, whose sole purpose seems to be destruction for destruction’s sake.

Production values are thankfully good in this sequel to 1999’s Tomie, based on a popular Japanese manga. Tomie: Replay seems geared towards a younger teen crowd, in spite of the blood and gore, mostly because of so many teenaged characters.

Tomie: Replay is an interesting diversion, but definitely not something to go out of your way to find.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, and teaches screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.



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