Netflix’s ‘Re/Member’ is a Japanese horror movie that follows the story of four high school students who get stuck in a time loop. In order to break out of it, they have to solve a decades-old mystery. For as long as the mystery remains unsolved the teenagers will continue to live the same day over and over again. All this while, they also have to survive a ghost who brutally kills them each night. By the end of the film, the teenagers succeed in getting a gist of what the time loop entails. The ending is bittersweet because despite winning, they lose a very important thing. If you are wondering how the film ends and what it means for the characters, then we’ve got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD
Re/Member Plot Synopsis
Asuka is one of the invisible students in school. She doesn’t have any friends, she is not popular. Her life is pretty boring and she is just waiting for school to be over so that she can go to college and start her life anew. All of this changes one day when she gets a series of cryptic texts and as soon as the clock hits midnight, she wakes up back at school with five other classmates— Takahiro, Shota, Rie, Atsushi, and Rumiko. All of them die within the next few minutes.
The next day when Asuka wakes up, she discovers that she is back in yesterday. As the same things repeat, she realizes that she and the others are stuck in a time loop. Shota tells them about the Body Search, where the task is to find all the body parts of a dismembered victim. Until they do that, they will keep living the same day over and over again. With the next loop, the teenagers are more prepared for the task at hand, especially when it comes to fighting the Red Person, a ghost/monster who hunts them down and kills them every night.
Re/Member Ending: How Do Asuka and Her Friends Break Out of the Time Loop?
As soon as the teenagers realize what is happening to them, they start to take the task seriously and come up with a plan. Shota brings the blueprint of the school and they start marking down all the places where they have already searched for a body part. Every night they try to cover a certain area of the school and after many loops, they succeed in assembling the entire body, except the head.
The teenagers knew that the head would be the most difficult part to find. The head of Miko, the girl who was murdered and dismembered and whose body part they now need to bring together, was never found. During the day, they visit the crime scene. Miko was killed in her summer home not far from their school. They discover that the house is still desolate and dilapidated. They discover a secret hole in the wall where they find Miko’s doll, Emily. From the pictures on the wall, it is clear that Miko loved her doll very much as it was her only friend.
Before Asuka and her friends can touch the doll, it suddenly disappears. They are forced to flee the house and start to believe that the doll has something to do with the ghost and the time loop. The same night, Miko’s ghost merges with the doll to create a new monster that eats Rie. The next day, everyone shows up, but Rie is nowhere to be seen. Her existence is erased, which means that if the monster eats you, you are dead for good.
The sudden emergence of the doll leads Asuka to the fact that the doll is where Miko’s head is. She remembers the time when the ghost caught her, Die, and Rumiko in the swimming pool and the doll was in the water, it drowned head first. This means that the head was heavier than the rest of the doll, meaning that something else was inside. Considering how the doll has suddenly become a part of the monster that hounds them, they deduce that the head must be there. This means that they will have to face the monster, rather than run away and try to survive it. That night, they create a trap for the monster, knowing that if they get eaten they’ll probably be erased forever.
By the end of the night, the monster succeeds in killing almost all of them. Only Asuka and Takahiro remain by the end. In the brief moment that the monster is trapped, Takahiro saws its head in half and the head falls off the doll. He and Asuka take it to the chapel where they have already collected the rest of the body. Before they can place the head in the coffin, the monster returns. Takahiro fights it but is killed. With all of her friends gone, Asuka decides not to run away from the monster anymore. She fights it and eventually kills it.
Asuka takes the head to the coffin where she places it with the rest of the body. She wakes up the next morning and discovers that it is the next day. They have broken out of the loop. But, as expected, all of them have forgotten about the time loop and the body search. On the news, the report about Miko’s dead body being found is released, which means that the teenagers succeeded in their task and broke out of the loop for good.
Do Asuka and Takahiro Remember the Time Loop and the Body Search?
While the time loop and getting killed by a ghost over and over again was a traumatic experience for the teenagers, the one good thing that came out of it was their friendship. The reason they were chosen for the Body Search was that all of them had been lonely in one way or another. Asuka and Shota were the school outcasts, and Atsushi was depressed over having lost the opportunity for a career in basketball. Rie was sad because the man she was dating was actually someone else’s boyfriend and she was nothing more than his sidepiece. Rumiko felt that she was popular but she didn’t have any real friends. Takahiro was afraid that he might have let go of the only opportunity of playing professional basketball and that this one decision would ruin his life.
When the six of them meet, they find a group that understands them and supports them. Because they have been through a traumatic experience together, they are more open with each other about what they really feel. They become each other’s closest friends. This is why it is heartbreaking when Asuka discovers that once the Body Search is done and the loop is broken, all the memories they shared with each other during this time will be lost. Asuka will go back to being the invisible person that had no friends and the rest of her friends will end up in the same cycle of dejection and loneliness.
In between the friendships, another thing that Asuka found was a rekindling of the bond between her and Takahiro. They had known each other since they were kids, but they drifted apart. Asuka became an outcast while Takahiro was the most popular boy in school. Even if he wanted to be friends with her, peer pressure didn’t allow him to be seen with a girl who didn’t have any friends. But when they get stuck in the time loop, they let go of the pretenses and it becomes clear to their friends that they are in love with each other.
When Asuka tells Takahiro about how she will go back to being a nobody once the loop is over, he promises that he will not let that happen. He gives her his pin, saying that no matter what happens, he will find her. The next day, when the loop is over, it turns out that the six of them have really forgotten everything. They go back to being the same people they were before, but there is one thing that’s different. Atsushi, who never came to school, suddenly shows up, saying that his attendance is low. When the selection of committee members happens, all six of them receive the chits.
This turns them into a group again, but with a different purpose. On their way to the committee meeting, something falls out of Asuka’s pocket and Takahiro notices that it is his pin. Seeing the pin brings back memories and he calls out to Asuka. He puts the pin in her hands, saying that he told her he would find her. Asuka smiles too, affirming that her memories are coming back too.
It is clear from their last interaction that Takahiro and Asuka remember something regarding the time loop. However, as already told by the librarian, Mr. Yashiro, the complete memories never come back. As had happened in his case, he and his friends forgot about the whole Body Search thing, but the feeling remained. All the days that they’d spent with each other left something in their minds and those emotions echoed whenever they came across something that would tie them to the time loop. Consequentially, Mr. Yashiro couldn’t remember everything from the time loop, but he remembered how he felt about a girl who had been in the loop with him.
The same thing happens to Takahiro and Asuka too. They had developed strong emotions for each other and the pin symbolized that. So, when they saw the pin, those feelings came back to them. Even if they don’t remember the Body Search, they remember each other and the love that they had for one another. From this, we can assume that the rest of the group also has fragments of such feelings inside them, which will start to surface when they spend more time with each other on the committee. They might have to start from scratch, getting to know each other all over again, but it looks like they will be able to rebuild the friendships they had forged in the time loop. They won’t be lonely again.
Read More: Where Was Netflix’s Re/Member Filmed?