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Daigo doesn't speak anymore. Not since he killed that rabbit on the playground at school. His sister, Kiriko, is worried. He's bullied. He sleepwalks. And their father is no help, trapped in his own grief and illustrating fantasy worlds where families are happily reunited and no one dies. They never should have gone to that 3D movie. The one with the stuffed rabbit that floated out of the screen. Now Daigo is missing. He's in danger, and Kiriko will have to follow him into a world of nightmares to discover the truth. And the truth is worse than any dream. From the legendary director of THE GRUDGE, Takashi Shimizu takes an unflinching look into childhood fears, the ties that hold a family together, and bloody secrets that won't stay dead.
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Last summer, long before my blog crashed, I reviewed another one of Takashi Shimizu's films titled SHOCK LABYRINTH 3D. I had mixed feelings on that particular film because, although it was shot well and had a nice chill to it, the storyline was sketchy and didn't make sense in certain parts. This is important for TORMENTED because the film pulls from SHOCK LABYRINTH in a few different ways.
Let me explain: the characters in TORMENTED go to a movie theater and see SHOCK LABYRINTH in 3D...which is where the rabbit comes from. It literally flies out of the picture and into their world. Sound crazy? Trust me...it is...but it is really cool. This "tie-in" runs throughout the film as well, even taking the characters to the hospital in which the previous movie was set.
But TORMENTED is not a sequel, nor is it technically related to the other film. It just relies on SHOCK LABYRINTH a bit to give it some plot-plugs. I really like how Shimizu was able to pull this off; if it were done any other way, it would have been cheesy.
TORMENTED is shot very well with some eye-popping 3D effects. The acting is really good as well, with a well-rounded cast that gives great performances. There's even a bit of good looking gore (although it is very brief) for you gore-hounds out there.
This film is a wide-eyed win for me and I suggest checking it out. It has an awesome twist that I didn't see coming and some spellbinding 3D for total immersion. The film hit store shelves earlier this week, so give it a look.
When I received an e-mail that Shimizu was going to be in town promoting his new movie "Tormented 3D" for the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF), you better believe I jumped at the opportunity to interview him and see it in a rare theatrical screening. I was blown away by the twisted tale that unraveled in front of me. I knew there was so much going on that I would need to see the movie again. Thanks to Well Go USA, I got the chance with its release on Blu-ray.
After seeing a 3D horror movie featuring a stuffed white rabbit, siblings Kiriko and Daigo begin seeing it in a life-sized form. The giant creature stalks them and seems to be trying to tell them something. What is the rabbit attempting to communicate to them and what sort of psychological doorways will it open?
Director Shimizu told me "Tormented 3D" was a companion piece to his film "The Shock Labyrinth 3D." I never realized how much it relied on "The Shock Labyrinth 3D" until I saw it again. It's basically the trigger for all the misery Daigo and Kiriko suffer through in this movie. It's the proverbial key that unlocks the dark recesses of their minds.
I know the idea of a giant white bunny rabbit running around grabbing people and stalking them might sound absurd. Trust me when I tell you, Shimizu takes the seemingly goofy concept and twists it around in your psyche to the extent that you'll never want to participate in an Easter Egg Hunt or read the story of Peter Cottontail ever again.
A lack of special features for the Blu-ray release of "Tormented 3D" is tragic. A 3D version of the movie and a trailer is all that's included. If you get the chance to see the movie in 3D, you should do so. Shimizu told the audience at the screening I attended he preferred everyone see it that way. I expected a "Making of" featurette since "The Shock Labyrinth 3D" Blu-ray had one. I was disappointed not to find one.
If you love Asian cinema, "Tormented 3D" is an essential addition to your collection. It's not likely you'll only watch the film once, as it takes several viewings to truly take everything in that it offers visually. This is so much more than a typical horror film and offers an emotional journey as well as a thrill ride.
"Tormented 3D" is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
By the way, the highly acclaimed Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love, Hero, Green Tea) is the cinematographer, so that helps too.
Some other recent Japanese horror films that I recommend are "Lesson of the Evil" (2012), "Cult" (2013), "The Complex" (2013), "Kotsutsubo" (2011), all four of the "Kaidan Horror Classics" (2010) films, and all four of Koji Shiraishi's "Senritsu Kaiki File" (2012-2013) films.