Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa
Starring: Satomi Ishihara, Koji Seto, Ai Hashimoto, Yusuke Yamamoto, Shota Sometani, Shunsuke Ito
With the resurgence of 3D at the cinema, and the influx of old series offering new installments in the ‘next’ dimension, perhaps it was only a matter of time before Japan follows suit. With that we have Sadako 3D, the next film in the insanely popular Ringu series. Following a massive advertising campaign, Sadako 3D hit earlier this year to great success and a sequel was quickly announced. So does this film live up to its predecessors, or does it fall into the same trap as many horror film sequels?
We follow teacher Akane Ayukawa (Satomi Ishihara) who learns about the supposed cursed video from her students. Apparently the video contains footage of a televised suicide which was broadcast onto the internet. For those who watch it, it is said that the viewer will die, seemingly by suicide, after the video is over. When one of Akane’s students turns up dead, Akane discovers the cursed video is real and the search for the truth is underway.
Satomi Ishihara delivers probably one of the dullest performances in her career. She seems listless and unenthused, but perhaps that is what her character was meant to project. Her boyfriend, played by former Kamen Rider alum Koji Seto is nothing more than an afterthought, and his purpose of serving as Akane’s anchor is hardly believable. The one strong acting point was Ryosei Tayama, the detective investigating the recent deaths. While falling into the typical ‘skeptic policeman’ role, is easy, he does manage to eke out a decent performance. The rest of the cast is expectedly weak as well; with sidelong glances at them and poor acting choices is the norm.
Built for the use of 3D, the film looks and uses CGI well. There are a number of ‘in your face’ effects and the 3D going crowd won’t be disappointed by its use. Music is generally forgettable, though a hint of the original’s theme makes it into the film. Overall, the atmospheric quality that I enjoy in my horror films is generally absent, until towards the end. Of note is how drastically different this film’s story is to the widely acclaimed original films. There is a point that I won’t spoil, but the film takes a decidedly Spielberg-ian turn at the film’s finale. I did not care for this element at all.
In the end, Sadako 3D is not a terrible film, it isn’t even the worst film in the series. It is, however, extremely reliant on the draw of 3D and many scenes are made to showcase it, but the story is not as strong as it should be. With middling performances and little in the way of scares, even with the action heavy finale, Sadako 3D is just a tepid little film. While the effects and look of the film are solid, as a horror film it is just a glitzy horror film that sells itself on the merits of its lineage.
You may enjoy this film if you liked: One Missed Call 2, Rasen, Dark Water