Before the start of the Kamiyama High School Festival, the Classics Club is summoned by Class 2-F's Fuyumi Irisu to review an amateur film created by her class for the event. What seems like an exclusive preview to a film rife with awkward acting, poor script and a non-existent ending becomes a test of Houtarou Oreki's character as an "energy-saving" person and a talented member of the Classic Literature Club.
In preparation for the upcoming Kamiyama High School Festival, Class 2-F decided to make an amateur movie shot in a nondescript location during summer vacation. The script was written by Mayu Hongō, and the story involves a group of five teenagers traveling into an abandoned theater building, where one of them would be murdered in a mysterious fashion. For details beyond the control of the staff of the film, the movie's script was left incomplete.
During a conversation in the school's own BBS website, Fuyumi Irisu, who became the supervisor for the movie project, found out about the case involving the Hyouka anthology (see The Origins of Hyouka) and this becomes the impetus for Irisu to invite the Classics Club to be involved in another case through its president, Eru Chitanda.
The Exclusive Pre-Screening
The Classics Club agrees to attend the exclusive pre-screening for Class 2-F's movie, and they are welcomed by Fuyumi Irisu, who prepares the showing before leaving momentarily. Although Houtarou Oreki voiced out his lack of interest in watching a film that is impossible to redo after having its flaws noticed, he pushed through.
The movie stars Midori Yamanishi, Mamiko Senoue, Takeo Katsuta, Yuri Kounosu and Takeo Kaitou, and it tells of a group of teenagers who ended up taking refuge in an abandoned theater building. During their search for a viable place to rest, the five split up and searched in different parts of the building. Minutes later, they regroup, only to find out that Kaitou hasn't returned. Upon retracing his steps, they find the motionless corpse of Kaitou inside a room at the far end of the theater's right wing, with his dismembered hand nearby. The movie ends abruptly with the only window in the room opened to revealed a grassy field and the passageway to the stage blocked off by debris.
After the movie ends, Fuyumi asks for the opinions of the Classics Club about the film. As she expected, the movie is panned for lacking polish and a proper ending. According to Fuyumi, despite being able to follow the filming schedule, the film had problems with the script due to the scriptwriter Mayu Hongō falling ill, cutting the script short. However, she expects that the mystery in the film can be solved since she thinks that Mayu followed the basic guidelines on writing a mystery (see Knox's Commandments, Raymond Chandler's Laws of Mystery, and the Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories by S.S. Van Dine). That said, when pushed for the culprit in the story, the club turns to Houtarou, who quickly showed disinterest in solving the case.
Fuyumi took no effort in persuading the Classics Club to take on the challenge, and this troubles Eru, who refuses to leave the movie without a sound conclusion. Houtarou also understands Eru's worries, but he does not want to lead the case as detectives to the case. Irisu agrees on a compromise; the Classics Club will serve only as "observers" while "amateur detectives" from the class will handle the case. Houtarou eventually gives in to her offer.