Sadako 3D Blu-ray Review
Directed by Tsutomu Hanabusa
Written by Koji Suzuki and Yoshinobu Fujioka
2012, Region A, 96 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on June 4th, 2013
Satomi Ishihara as Akane Ayukawa
Koji Seto as Takanori Ando
Yusuke Yamamoto as Kiyoshi Kashiwada
As a lover of Japanese horror cinema, when the name Sadako happened to pop up, I got giddier than a school girl at a boy band concert. If you are among the uneducated, Sadako is the evil little girl from the Japanese classic Ringu, which was decently remade as The Ring in the good ole US of A. When I found out that I would be reviewing this, I promptly grabbed my copy of Ringu and rewatched that sucker, waiting patiently to be pleasantly surprised as I was years ago. It turns out that I'm going to be waiting a while longer.
Sadako 3D unfortunately is loosely based in the realm of the original Ringu movies. The film revolves around a cursed viral video that is hidden on the Internet that is supposed to drive anyone who sees it to suicide. Made by the mysterious Kiyoshi Kashiwada, his intentions are to release the powers of Sadako and continue the curse once again. Once school teacher Akane finds out about one of her students who has killed herself after viewing the video, she herself is drawn to it, along with her boyfriend. Can they solve the mystery behind the curse? Honestly, who the hell cares.
I did have my reserves about Sadako 3D right away for one reason alone: 3D. This tends to be a huge make or break with horror these days. Can a movie survive on its own without the painful gimmick of pop-out scares? It sure never seems that way. Ever since My Bloody Valentine 3D, I haven't been able to jump aboard this bandwagon. A horror movie should be able to stand on its own two feet and be genuinely scary without something like an ax being thrown at your face or a ghostly chick reaching out of your television. I'll leave 3D alone though and move on to something else that had me screaming with frustration: the plot. With the original Ringu, the VHS tape that was copied and passed around led to the mystery behind Sadako. That phone call that immediately followed the viewing of the subliminal video was enough to keep me glued to my seat. Sadako 3D does something similar and interesting, moving to the modern-age of viral videos that everyone passes around like herpes. But when the video itself isn't scary, I might as well want to kill myself after I watch a video of a sloth petting a cat (it exists). Aside from that, once something has been put online, good luck ever getting rid of it. Every human's natural curiosity would have the entire planet offing themselves in about 5 hours, if that.
The one enjoyable part of Sadako 3D is the acting of Satomi Ishihara as Akane Ayukawa. I wish her enthusiasm could have been put to better use in a film that wasn't put together for the sole intent of having things fly at your face (insert three million sexual innuendos). Along with her acting, the cinematography is actually well done. There is something about Japanese movies and the way they use light contrasts that has always been appealing to me. But that shouldn't be the only saving thing a movie has to offer. The only curse Sadako 3D is suffering from is the ongoing injection of sub-par 3D into a genre that just wants to see heads roll, body counts rise and to be genuinely scared by a story that doesn't sound like it was created by the same people who follow you with their phones, saying “maaaan you gotta check out this video.”
Video and Audio:
Sadako 3D is presented in 16:9 widscreen, 5.1 stereo surround sound and with DTS-HD Master Audio so you can see and hear things popping out at you randomly. English subtitles also exist. Welcome to the land of cynicism.
Quite to my utter surprise, Sadako 3D is also lacking in the special features department. If you want to watch a trailer to the movie I've been speaking so highly of, that's there for your viewing pleasure.