Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Film Review: Tormented (2011)

Tormented (Review)
Japan/2011
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

Kirioko is a mute with a shy, younger half-brother, Daigo; they have different mothers, and live with their book illustrator father. Kiriko, along with several students, witness Daigo kill an injured rabbit - putting it out of its misery. Afterward, Daigo stops attending school and begins to spend time with Kiriko. Eventually, both are haunted by a large rabbit-doll.

The rabbit-doll explodes off the screen while Kiriko and Daigo watch Shock Labyrinth 3D in a theater. Daigo takes the rabbit-doll with him and begins to experience surreal nightmares featuring a large rabbit. Kiriko also begins to experience these nightmares as she tries to save her younger brother. However, these nightmares hold a much deeper meaning... regarding Daigo's mother, Kyoko, who might've returned from the dead.

Tormented is an atmospheric fantasy horror film. It is a mystifying, slow-burner with fantastic originality. The dream sequences are fantastic, and really add to the fairytale horror of the film. The rabbit-doll is effective, it can be creepy. The story uses drama and horror to create an effective experience; much of the story is sad and depressing, sometimes hard to watch. However, aside from the rabbit-doll, you've likely seen this story before. The twist is good, but it is very predictable. The ending of the film is good, too.

Tormented is a 3D horror film with a 2D version. I watched the 2D version, and you can clearly see what scenes were going to use the 3D feature. Some of it is off-putting because of the lack of 3D. The special effects simply don't fit well with the 2D version, it looks odd. It doesn't break the film, but it is slightly distracting. If you can watch the 3D version, that may be the superior version.

The acting is great from the cast. Hikari Mitsushima plays Kiriko; she doesn't speak, except for some monologues, but her facial expressions are great and show the right emotion; I wouldn't mean seeing more of her in the future. The music is also great, it really fits with the mystical, fantasy horror atmosphere of the film. Aside from some special effects, the film is shot beautifully; there are many scenes that have great use of color.

Overall, Tormented is a great fantasy horror film, that blends its elements well. However, the horror is a bit soft and underwhelming - I won't lose any sleep at night - and some story elements are predictable. I recommend a purchase for fans of slow-burning fantasy horror films, a rental otherwise.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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