Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Film Review: Sadako 3D (2012)

Sadako 3D (Review)
Japan/2012
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It worth watching for fans of the series and those looking to kill a night, but it doesn't offer much for everyone else."

After two mysterious suicides -- one at a bus stop and another involving a student -- the skeptical Detective Koiso and his partner investigate an alleged cursed video which causes the viewer to die. Akane (Satomi Ishihara), the teacher of the suicidal student, also investigates as a mysterious presence looms over her every move.

Sadako has a fairly simple story. Told simultaneously as they constantly clash, the detective and teacher eventually partner up to investigate the mysterious video. They find an online artist that has awaken Sadako, and now she's looking for a body. Eventually, Akane must face Sadako to save her life and possibly humanity. The ending is confusing as the story becomes jumbled and tangled, yet you can kinda grasp it. The film has enough energy and momentum to keep you interested for the first two acts, but it eventually runs out of steam. The story, in general, really isn't anything special -- it lacks depth and creativity, as well as many necessary horror elements.

Sadako mainly relies on jump-scares to terrify the audience. However, without the necessary suspense, most of the jump-scares are ineffective. There are some disturbing visuals, usually involving death, but they are underused. On top of that, the visuals are heavily reliant on computer effects -- it uses too much computer, in fact, which makes the visuals less realistic and less effective. The final act is the largest offender of the overused computer effects, it's almost laughable. The film is clearly meant to be seen in 3D since the 3D effects are so obvious in 2D; I don't know if it would've been scarier in 3D since many jump-scares clearly rely on the 3D effects, but I can say it looks cheesy, regardless. So, it's not very scary; not nearly as frightening as Ringu or The Ring.

I still enjoy the killer technology concept. This time around the video wanders through the internet as if it's choosing who it wants as a viewer. I don't want to give the film too much credit, but I also like the (what may be) commentary on modern society: a fascination with death to the point where teenagers tirelessly search for a suicide video as if they were desensitized to the matter -- and many of us may be, especially because of technology. It made me think a bit, but it was just me wandering off...

The acting is about what you'd expect from a horror film. A little stiffness here, some overacting there, but generally enjoyable. Satomi Ishihara has a solid performance as the lead. (although it's hard to judge accurately when you can only focus on her luscious lips... what?) The visual effects are mostly cheesy and, unfortunately, overused; they usually feel out of place and, in turn, break any immersion. The story is okay, although it lacks the depth and impact necessary for a great horror film; it was enough to keep me interested, at least to the end, and entertain a bit.

Overall, Sadako 3D is an entertaining and interesting horror film; however, it lacks actual horror, the story runs out of energy towards the end, and the ending is a mess; tack on too much computer, and you have a messy horror film. It worth watching for fans of the series and those looking to kill a night, but it doesn't offer much for everyone else.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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