Monday, February 27, 2017

Film Review: Sadako vs. Kayako (2016)

Sadako vs. Kayako (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a fun, exciting, and engaging horror crossover."

In order to stop their deadly curses from spreading, Sadako and Kayako are forced to fight...

Sadako vs. Kayako is almost like two films rolled into one since it follows two different scenarios—one for Sadako, the other for Kayako. On the Sadako side, college students Yuri (Mizuki Yamamoto) and Natsumi stumble upon the legendary cursed tape. Natsmui watches the tape due to Yuri's curiosity, which leaves Natsumi cursed. So, the pair race to stop Sadako. Meanwhile, high school student Suzuka (Tina Tamashiro) moves to a new house with her family. Her new home just happens to be located across the street from Kayako's house. The film frequently jumps between both plots until they eventually link. It's not difficult to follow, though. It leads to a very... interesting ending. It's a little strange, but I think I like it.

I really enjoyed Sadako vs. Kayako. I'm a big fan of Ringu and Ju-on, though. (Okay, I wasn't a big fan of Sadako 3D, but I can't stay away from these series.) This film isn't as scary as Ringu or Ju-on. It is, however, fun and exciting. And, in the horror department, it also has some chilling visuals. The death scenes were actually surprising. I think the Kayako segments best captured the vibe of the classic films; the Sadako segments were good, but they didn't really match the slow-burn, depressing vibe from the original. Still, this was a very well-made crossover. It's a lot better than I expected, that's for sure. I mean, it's Sadako vs. Kayako! Anyway, aside from a lack of suspense, the film also has some pacing issues. It runs out of momentum here and there. Fortunately, most of the film is well-paced and it's not very long.

The acting was good, too. Mizuki Yamamoto and Tina Tamashiro performed well as the leading ladies. Yes, there is some overacting here, but it isn't ridiculously over-the-top. I think it works well. The film was shot well, too. It's nice seeing a high-quality Ju-on movie. (I still enjoyed Ju-on: White Ghost, though.) The music matched the mood of the film, too. The film's computer effects often stick out like a sore thumb, but they're not overused and they're better here than in the previous films. The film was written and directed by Kōji Shiraishi. Shiraishi creates a great crossover, blending the (some of) the best elements from both films. This film isn't tense or disturbing, but it is exciting and engaging, especially for fans of the series. Considering the scope of the project, I think that's more than good enough.

Overall, Sadako vs. Kayako is a very good movie. It's a fun, exciting, and engaging horror crossover. Compared to the many other supernatural horror movies flooding the genre, this is a breath of fresh air. It's not perfect, but I think it'll satisfy open-minded fans of the series. It's definitely worth the $5 subscription to Shudder.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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