Indie director Gen Takahashi might be familiar to some as the director of the police/crime thriller Confessions of a Dog which was recently released by Third Window Films. Well he followed that up with the horror story Goth – Love of Death another film about outsiders and an exploration of existentialism, love and death.
A hot summer is made interesting when a dead body is left in an artistic pose on steps of a public park in a quiet neighbourhood. Gloomy school-girl Yuko (Rin Takanashi) wanders by and is attracted to the sight of the corpse. She notices a popular classmate named Itsuki (Kanata Hongo) also absorbed by the sight. The murder is soon linked to one that happened two months previously and becomes a media sensation. Yuko and Itsuki soon spark up a relationship and visit the locations of crime scenes together. When they find the killer’s notebook they realise he’s in their social circle.
The film is based on the Honkaku Mystery Prize winning novel named Goth which was later serialised as a manga by Kendi Oiwa. The film references these from the start with a montage of strange images.
Although the film spends a lot of time covering murder and death this plot thread is less fascinating than the developing relationship between Yuko and Itsuki. Just so you know there is little blood and gore just a lot of artfully posed corpses and an ever so slight mystery. The real meat, for me at least, was the growing connection between the two central protagonists and their character growth.
The film conveys the dislocation that the adolescent characters feel. The way the hot summer is captured by the washed out colours and the bouts of slow motion makes life look enervated. The way the camera observes the central duo as they observe others reflects the blooming awareness of their existence in the world.