Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Film Review: Tormented 3D (2011) [Revisited]

Tormented 3D (Review)
Japan/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (2D) (Well Go USA)
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...the Hot sauce of the Taco Bell sauces, if Taco Bell sauces measured horror."

After her younger half-brother, Daigo, kills an injured rabbit to take it out of its misery, mute Kiriko (Hikari Mitsushima) and Daigo are haunted by a large rabbit doll...

Tormented continues as Kiriko and Daigo are haunted by a large rabbit doll, who was unleashed from the big screen after Kiriko and Daigo watched The Shock Labyrinth in 3D. Tormented plays out a bit like a horror-mystery where you have to guess who's in the rabbit costume. Those accustomed to Japanese horror will likely recognize its predictable plot points; otherwise, your in for a couple of surprises. The rest of the story is filled with several dreamlike sequences and traditional J-horror elements. Tormented ends with a slightly confusing yet dark ending -- not bad at all.

Tormented is a slow-burn fantast horror. The slow-burn is noticeable, but not as effective as it should be. The fantasy consist of several dreamlike sequences, which I thoroughly enjoyed; many of these visuals are a real treat, using great cinematography and vivid colors. And, the horror includes some suspense, many jump-scares, and some creepy visuals. All-in-all, Tormented is a great improvement over The Shock Labyrinth.

However, there are still some flaws. Occasionally the film can feel uneventful or bland. The fantasy elements are underutilized, as well. And, despite having more horror than The Shock Labyrinth, Tormented is still not a very scary film -- it's probably the Hot sauce of the Taco Bell sauces, if Taco Bell sauces measured horror. And, finally, although most of the film moves at a great pace, the ending did start to drag.

The acting is also much improved. Although she only speaks during monologues, Hikari Mitsushima shows a lot of heart and enthusiasm with her performance; you can see all of her emotions simply through her facial expressions, which is great. Some of it still feels amateurish, but it's an improvement, at the very least. I like the cinematography -- the visuals, especially during some of the dreamlike sequences, are great to look at. The music is also great -- I always loved Japanese horror music/sounds, and, although not iconic or groundbreaking, this soundtrack does not fail. The special effects, again, look out of place, likely due to me watching the 2D version; regardless, the computer effects look cheap and tacked-on. Takashi Shimizu's directs this film with more direction, more focus than most of his previous work. In fact, this is probably Shimizu's best work since Ju-on: The Grudge.

Overall, I like Tormented -- I think it's a great J-horror film. It's got some scares, slick visuals, some unique and creative elements (you won't find many horror films with giant rabbits), and a great performance from leading lady Hikari Mitsushima. However, it's definitely not a film for everyone.

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

Editor's Note: You're probably wondering: "Hey, Jonathan, didn't you review this film last year?" Well, yes, I did. But, I decide to watch The Shock Labyrinth and Tormented back-to-back to see if anything had changed -- both films are interlinked, and my first viewings for each film were over a year apart. I guess I wanted to see if watching both films, one after the other, would change my opinion on either. And, I got them both for $4 at Fry's, so I figured it would be a great time to revisit these films.

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