6.4/10
160
5 user 3 critic

The Dark Maidens (2017)

Ankoku joshi (original title)
Members of a High School literature club discover there is more to the club members than their weekly meetings would lead them to believe.

Director:

Saiji Yakumo

Writers:

Rikako Akiyoshi (based on the novel by), Mari Okada (screenplay)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Fumika Shimizu ... Sayuri Sumikawa
Marie Iitoyo ... Itsumi Shiraishi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Riria Baba Riria Baba ... Akane Kominami
Yûdai Chiba Yûdai Chiba ... Hojo
Nana Seino ... Shiyo Takaoka
Yûna Taira ... Mirei Nitani
Tina Tamashiro ... Diana Decheba / Emma Decheba
Edit

Storyline

Sometimes there is more to a high school extracurricular activity than an activity. An undercurrent lurks and stirs when the girls of a Christian high school in Japan gather together in the exclusive building of their literature club to take part in its activities. There are books, records, delicious baked goods, friendships and - more. Watch for a whole lot more. Written by aghaemi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site [Japan]

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1 April 2017 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dark Maidens See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Robot Communications See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Where the truth lies
27 January 2018 | by nmegaheySee all my reviews

With a title like that and the setting at a girl's school, The Dark Maidens does raise expectations of a certain type of Asian horror film, but while director Saiji Yakumo's feature certainly delves into the dark side of an elite Catholic girls school, it doesn't rely solely on the supernatural for the shocks and revelations that occur. With a script from noted anime writer Mari Okada (The Anthem of The Heart, Anohana), The Dark Maidens is a clever and self-referential murder-mystery that effortlessly trips through a number of genres without compromising on any of the thrills associated with each of them.

Rumours circulate around the Virgin Mary Christian Academy that the school's top student Itsumi Shiraishi has been murdered and that the murderer is one of the six members of the very select Literary Club that she established. The group have gathered for one last session where, as a literary exercise, the acting chairperson Sayori Sumikawa has invited the remaining members to present their own account of what they believe led to Itsumi's death. Perhaps somewhere amidst the conflicting accounts they can find out the truth about why the girl who was regarded as the 'sun' of the academy was found dead in a flower bed holding with a lily of the valley in her hands.

The opening scene of the film, the literary group meeting in a western-styled drawing room, gathered around a 'cauldron' while a storm rages outside, is only the first of a number of self-conscious references and plays on genre. Each of the "dark maidens" of the literary club - who are evidently fond of Agatha Christie - gives their own account of the events that led to the death of Itsumi, the personal perspective of the stories genre-hopping between murder-mystery, erotic, supernatural horror and romance. There's even a surprise extra account that presents a Rashomon-like spin on events, but twists and revelations are very much the order of the day.

Putting aside the artificiality of the set-up, The Dark Maidens has a delightfully intricate, cleverly plotted and almost airtight script where, despite the conflicting views, any one of the stories could be true. In fact, all of the stories do actually carry a measure of truth, if not in relation to the objective nature of what has occurred, at least in what they tell us about female rivalry, social hierarchy and the secrets and hidden facets that often determine the balance of power in Japanese society.


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