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12 Suicidal Teens (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Arata Mackenyu (Actor) | Kuroshima Yuina (Actor) | Kitamura Takumi (Actor) | Hashimoto Kanna (Actor)
12 Suicidal Teens (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
12 Angry Teens
October 31, 2019 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
Even without knowing anything about 12 Suicidal Teens, the film grabs attention right away with its alarming title. Once you know more, the film only gets more interesting.

Adapted from Ubakata Tow's 2016 novel, the teen mystery has a clear and intriguing construct that sets up the puzzle. One sunny morning, 12 teens gather at an abandoned hospital to die together. The teens, who don't know each other, arrive one by one and follow instructions provided by the organizer to enter the hospital, retrieve a number tag, and find a designated room. However, they realize there's an extra person in the room, a lifeless body already lying on a 13th bed. One of the teens notices that this 13th person has been deliberately staged to look like he committed suicide, but the clues indicate otherwise. So who is he and who is responsible for his death? Before the 12 suicidal teens can decide on their own fates, they must first determine what happened to this mysterious 13th teen.

A fairly eye-popping ensemble cast of young rising stars portray the story's troubled teens, including Arata Mackenyu, Sugisaki Hana, Kitamura Takumi, Hashimoto Kanna, Kuroshima Yuina and Takasugi Mahiro. With Mackenyu's character acting as essentially the lead gumshoe, the group of teens discuss, deduce and forage for clues and cracks in each other's stories. In the process, the doubting teens befriend and attack each other, and their personalities and reasons for wanting to die are gradually revealed.

Though the teens' backstories and the actors' performances aren't as compelling as they could be, the youths' motives do provide insight into the angst, anger and pain of adolescence. The script touches on bullying, guilt and family conflicts, as well as more philosophical arguments about the right of life and death. Notably, the teens do not use the word "suicide" but rather "euthanasia," emphasizing the choice to relieve suffering. While they seek death, the unexpected mystery-solving mission ends up giving them the chance to talk things out and release their inner burdens.

As a seasoned commercial filmmaker, Tsutsumi Yukihiko ably handles the character study and youth film elements of 12 Suicidal Teens, but where his experienced touch is most apparent and crucial is the mystery part. From the Trick and SPEC series to Initiation Love, Tsutsumi is familiar with directing mysteries, and 12 Suicidal Teens is built on a classic mystery puzzle. The answer depends on figuring out the true order in which the characters entered the hospital. By analyzing clues at the scene and in the characters' accounts, the teens and the audience can gradually reconstruct the flow of events.

The story also employs a classic 12 Angry Men-style closed-room deliberation for the teens, numbered 1 to 12, to piece together and tear apart each other's stories. As they each strive to build consensus, deflect suspicion and affect the final decision, personalities clash, conflicts intensify and resolve, and the truth emerges.

Considering the mystery rides greatly on timing, Tsutsumi does a good job of controlling the pacing and staging of the film's concurrent actions and reveals. He also demonstrates again that simple editing techniques can be the most effective way to connect the dots. Those who have also seen Initiation Love will sense a similarity in the way Tsutsumi unassumingly sets up and efficiently reveals the answers in both films, though the mysteries themselves are very different.

Other Versions of "12 Suicidal Teens (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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