TV thriller “Re:Mind” thrills audience


Netflix is notorious at the moment for its abundance of Japanese-language drama with a variety of subtitles (including English), from comedies to thrillers. This recent pattern has been added to again, with the release of “Re:Mind” last Thursday.

The 13-episode mini-series focuses on a group of 12 high school girls who wake up with bags over their heads and their feet chained to the floor, sitting around a large dining table in a strange room. Together they must work through trying to get free, while figuring out who their captor is as well.

And to be honest, there’s nothing that can be mentioned beyond that brief summary without spoiling what’s meant to be a surprise.

It’s a show that makes you think you know what will happen at the very beginning, and cause you to gape in shock when it doesn’t go the way you predicted. In that same way, it’s one of those shows that gets you hooked because you realize your prediction was wrong, and before you know it, you’ve watched five episodes in a row.

The main cast — the girls in the room — are played by Hiragana Keyakizaka46, an undergroup of Keyakizaka46, sometimes nicknamed “Kanji Keyakizaka46” because of the usage of kanji characters in the name rather than hiragana (a different writing system in Japanese). It is a popular female idol group in Japan — they were created in 2015 and include 40 members in total.

Because the girls aren’t primarily film stars, the acting in “Re:Mind” could easily be perceived as bad. And while this is true in some cases, there are many moments when the acting is fantastic and so convincing that it seems as though it’s really happening. When the story counts the most, the acting will be there to meet it (for the most part).

One of the things most surprising about the show is that there’s a strange mix of emotion that happens throughout. The majority of it is, as can be expected, creepy and suspenseful, keeping your heart beating just a little too fast and your breath coming just a little too quickly in your throat to be normal. There are parts that are cringy, because the writing or acting is especially bad in a certain scene, or a character does something that seems just a little too unrealistic to fit even into a show such as this. But then there are also scenes that seem to contrast the entire tone of the show, where the emotion is high and you’re left wondering why in the world you’re on the verge of tears when you’re supposed to be watching a suspense drama.

While “Re:Mind” might not win any awards or even nominations any time soon, it’s interesting and fun to watch, and doesn’t completely rely on the crutch of the plot to drive you to watch more. The characters have personalities, they have their goods and bads, and very few of them are easy to flat-out despise, even as you learn more about each one.

If you’re looking for a different kind of thriller to try out, “Re:Mind” is definitely your best bet.

The show was produced and originally aired by the well-known TV Tokyo, and is streamed on Netflix as a Netflix Original.