Monday, February 10, 2014

Film Review: The Shock Labyrinth 3D (2009)

The Shock Labyrinth 3D (Review)
Japan/2009
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-Ray (2D) (Well Go USA)
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...riddled with flaws ... which ultimately lead it to a dead end. "

A friend, Ken, arrives for a friendly reunion after a long hiatus. The arrival of another friend, Yuki, who was believed to be dead, sparks the haunting memories of the group's past visit to the Shock Labyrinth...

The Shock Labyrinth blends two timelines to tell one story. So, we follow this group of friends in the present and as children during their first visit to this house of horrors, and the timelines interlink to create some interesting, yet occasionally confusing, moments. As interesting as it sounds, it really boils down to your basic ghost revenge flick. The storytelling and setting are really the only unique or creative aspects of the film. The Shock Labyrinth, which plays much like a maze, eventually finds itself at a merely decent ending.

The Shock Labyrinth is interesting and engaging. I like stories like this where everything connects, including some of the smallest details. The storytelling is creative and engaging, but it isn't flawless. Occasionally, I felt lost or confused, and I really shouldn't have been. When you get past the storytelling, you find a generic story. Been there, done that. More disappointing is the lack of scares; it feels very lightweight in this matter where it lacks the most basic jump-scares. However, the setting is great, I really like this house of horrors. And, there are some creepy visuals -- not exactly terrifying, but cool, for lack of a better word.

The acting is decent -- very amateurish and often wooden from some of the cast, but it is mostly serviceable. The film is shot nicely, I like the cinematograph; I really like the set designs, might be because we rarely see horror movies based in "house of horrors" type settings. The music is mostly by-the-books, but I did enjoy the sound editing and a few of the eerie songs/sounds. I didn't watch the film in 3D, but I can see the special effects aren't anything special. Director Takashi Shimizu, known for Ju-on: The Grudge and its remake, helms this film -- he's very ambitious, but misses his mark.

Overall, The Shock Labyrinth is a serviceable film. Don't get me wrong, I found it to be entertaining and occasionally creepy -- I especially enjoyed the setting. However, The Shock Labyrinth is riddled with flaws, from its generic and almost fright-less story to its barely decent acting, which ultimately lead it to a dead end.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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