After being rejected by her crush, Chihiro, a young school girl turns to online dating service where she meets Makoto. Makoto is investigating a series of suicides that he believes to be linked to a mysterious online persona. Bearing a resemblance to Makato’s girlfriend who committed suicide and knowing two of the other schoolgirls who jumped to their death, Makoto attempts to force himself into her life. As the couple gets to know each other, they become romantically involved, but Chihiro still has lingering thoughts of a past romance and her friend’s suicide.
Faced with internal conflict being fed by admiration for her friend who committed suicide, Chihiro herself starts struggling with suicidal ideation. Makoto begins to piece things together, realizing that there may be an external force pushing these young girls to suicide. He focuses his attention on saving Chihiro in order to atone for his previous girlfriend’s suicide which he feels at fault for. The couple strives to make it to the new year and begin a fresh start in their lives.
“The Suicide Chain” boasts some interesting visuals, giving my original impression of the film that it must have been produced in early to mid 90’s, and for a film of that time period, I would say it is exceptional in its cinematography. However, since it was released in 2001, it is hard to heap the same praise on it, given a few other films released the same year dealing with similar themes such as “Suicide Club” which boasts much sharper visuals. However, given the budget, it is still hard not to be impressed by all the work that went into this production. The location work is very impressive, paired with a lot of wide angle shots, and “The Suicide Chain” has a consistent visual appeal that is lacking from a lot of low budget Pink films. There is some lull in the visuals, however, the amount of time the film commits to showing the texts being sent to a phone becomes tedious early on.
“The Suicide Chain” pays homage to the 70’s wave of more minimalist, socially conscientious and somber films. While it does a good job of capturing the tone, pacing and subject, it does not really do anything to set it apart from films of that ilk, which in part may be to the restricted run time. The film moves at a good pace, setting itself up really well in the opening scene, to give an idea of what will follow and I was pretty confident before the opening credits started up that I was in for a good experience. For fans who enjoy pink film mostly for the erotic aspects, there is bound to be some disappointment, as the sex is uncomfortable given the age of characters, the nudity is minimal and the act itself is tame. However, those that like exploitation films more as a vehicle that allows more freedom in story telling, the short erotic scenes actually work in the film’s favour.
“The Suicide Chain” seems like a film somewhat lost in time; everything about it seems a bit dated given its actual release date and I can understand why it slipped under the radar. However, it boasts a lot of positives and fans of pink movies will find a lot of things to attach onto. The production brought up a lot of nostalgia for the films of my youth that would go on to shape my tastes as I grew older. Although I think “The Suicide Chain” may not have what it takes to become a classic or a title that would favor multiple views, it was a positive experience for a film dealing with such negative themes.