Halloween Endurance Test: Attack Girls’ Swim Team Vs the Undead (2008)
I picked tonight’s movie, Attack Girls’ Swim Team Vs the Undead, up on a lark. Afraid I had too many bona-fide hits in this year’s collection (Curse of Frankenstein, the Whip and the Body) and not enough actual crappy, enduranc-y type films, I went straight for this one. (Though, looking back at Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter and 2003’s the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; perhaps I was scared for no reason.)
Everything in this film that is succinctly explained in the title. Pure exploitation: mixing Japan’s fetishes for school girl uniforms and swim meets with the all-purpose “government experiment gone wrong” plot (think the Host on a smaller, school-sized budget). Modern exploitation though; think straight DV and lots of shower scenes. Not nearly as over the top as the hectically perverse Die You Zombie Bastards!
The plot revolves around a school vaccination that turns everyone who takes it into a zombie. Everyone except the swim team, who, by virtue of a meet they’ve been training for, have been spending too much time swimming in a pool that makes them immune.
(Readers interested in warding off a zombie apocalypse will be pleased to learn that it’s actually chlorine that stops/prevents zombification. Not bleach as the Day of the Dead remake so heroically attempted.)
The acting is as horrible as the effects are cheap looking. Zombie-dom being defined as having some green spots painted on the face while the actress stares off into space cross-eyed. The blood, while thin and obviously fake, at least flows freely and is real in the “not CG” sense.
The swim team is saved by Aki (Sasa Handa), a recent recruit who had undergone “water assassin” training in her childhood. As she’s the only swim team member who knows how to fight, she quickly picks up a lesbian plaything, Sayaka (Yuria Hidaka), who needs protection.
Needs protection and is willing to feed her like a mama bird! I’ve loved many in my life, but never have I loved someone so much that I’d allow them to regurgitate food in my mouth. That’s some Edwina and Jerry shit right there! First off, it’s soup, so what’s even the point? Next, it plays right before their lesbian scene; which goes a lot farther. Completely eliminating the need for the tame kiss/soup slurp that precedes it.
One amusing bit that runs through the film yet never gets an intentional nod is the swim team itself. While the title claims its the “Attack Girls’ Swim Team,” here “team” actually means “Aki and Sayaka.” The rest of the team show up once, grab weapons in preparation to fight, and are quickly slaughtered by a hilariously awesome Ms. Mariko (Ayumu Tokito).
Mariko plays the stereotypical lecherous teacher with abandon; attempting to seduce everyone who comes on-screen with her. When she meets the revitalized and ready to fight swim team, Mariko pulls out a sword and slices everyone up. Meet the swim team, folks, and now watch them die! Mariko’s comeuppance comes via a cinder block upside her head! Cartoonish violence, to be sure, but also attention grabbing.
There’s also a zombie teacher who hacks into his students with double-fisted rulers. When the throat-slashing gets old, he moves on to breathing fire and juggling; making you wonder just what class he was teaching. ‘Cuz whatever it was, I know it wasn’t offered in my high school.
Eventually we learn that it’s Aki’s old assassin teacher who’s behind the whole zombie poisoning. He’s missed Aki so much that he concocted a solution to make people zombies, poisoned her adopted school with it, all to reunite with her. (Yeah, that plot doesn’t make anymore sense when put on-screen either.) He plays a flute that makes organ noises, she slits his throat.
Then his twin brother shows up wearing virtual reality gloves, and strips her naked. She proceeds to vaporize him with an energy beam shot out of her vagina. Yes, folks, the filmmakers, having run out of horror cliches, just went bat-shit insane for the last 20 minutes.
Normally I’d like something like that, if they had been that off the wall in the preceding scenes. Here it plays exactly as it sounds, like the filmmakers ran out of money and ideas, and just threw the easiest solution/ending on-screen that they could think of.