Yesterday: Sadako 3D (Hanabusa, 2012)
Inspired to catch up on some of the latter Ring or Grudge movies I've missed, I thought I'd start with one I wasn't going to pursue. I liked Ring (Nakata, 1998) (although it was nowhere near as good as many were suggesting at the time), I enjoyed American remake The Ring (Verbinski, 2002) and I even liked the sequel to the remake, The Ring Two (Nakata, 2005) but, mostly, the other Ring movies have been so-so and, currently holding a 3.8/10 with the IMDb, Sadako 3D held little interest for me. Well, I've seen it now and I think the 3.8 might be slightly generous.
A videoclip of a performance artist committing suicide is released onto the internet and develops traction as a "cursed" clip, apparently killing all who see it. The last thing the victims hear before they die is a woman's voice proclaiming, "You are not the one." The woman in question is Sadako Yamamura, the vengeful telekinetic monster thrown down a well years previously. She's seeking a "perfect" host into whom her spirit can enter, making her whole again. That perfect host is Akane, another telekinetic who has chosen to hide her abilities, using them only sparingly for good reasons. Akane is a teacher and, when she saves a pupil from an attack by Sadako, Sadako gives chase. Will she catch her? Does anyone care?
Oh dear. In fairness, some of the ideas which update the technology involved have potential to serve the story quite well; the Ring mythos was always kind-of hamstrung by the notion that you're f*cked, but only if you view a VHS videotape which is somehow doing the rounds. And the story itself isn't all that bad; it's not great, but these plots rarely are. But the execution is abysmal. Virtually all of the special effects are digital, and they are all laughably poor. There are umpteen opportunities for genuine scares within Sadako 3D, and every one of those opportunities is squandered in a burst of bog-standard cgi. There is some practical effects work late on but even then, the creature design is more humorous than horrifying.
The there's the 3D. Now, I watched Sadako 3D in 2D (I think 3D is a f*cking travesty but that's a different rant for a different day) but... well, movies which make good use of 3D - Avatar, Prometheus, Star Wars:The Force Awakens for example - use that 3D to give depth into the screen, as though the movie is being played out on a theatre stage. And if one chooses not to see films like that in 3D, there's never a sense of missing out. There's no effect which one has to accept is sh*t but would probably have looked good in 3D. Sadako 3D still wants to employ the hackneyed gimmick of pushing things out at the audience and, in any dimension, that's just plain irritating, especially when said gimmick is repeatedly employed for the same tiny handful of reasons, over and over: Sadako's hand shooting out of a monitor/tv screen/mobile phone; someone or other falling down a well from the perspective of the bottom of the well; lots of badly realised digital shattered glass flying about in slow motion. Ugh.
Ah well. I'll be getting Sadako 3D 2 (Hanabusa, 2013) out of the way today and then, tomorrow,I'll start on the Grudge pictures I've not seen yet. Hurrah.