Led to believe that the latest theatrical venture of one of the most iconic Asian nightmare bane of all times is related to the first two films (Ring and Ring 2) by plot franchise, I am shocked (not just by the genre frights) to be greeted with forehead-slapping absurdity.
Sadako 3D sets out with a strong singular purpose to exploit Sadako's signature "climbing out of television set" horror stint. The filmmakers do so by attempting to reach out to the audience (no puns intended) through their 3D glasses by allowing Sadako to grasp and fling her creepy long hair at us visually. No comments on the quality of the third dimension unfortunately, as this review is based upon a 2D screening.
With a weak plot at its core, the film presents itself with a prominent façade of atrocity with ridiculous scenarios and cheap thrills. Not to be prejudiced against the source material that the film's based upon, I have not read Koji Suzuki's (who also wrote the novels of the first two Ring movies) latest novel titled "S".
That said, it gifts me with a high degree of plot disparity.
Featuring unexplained theories behind the resurrection of Sadako and a confusing motif in the form of moths, I believe these are critical elements in Suzuki's novel that have been lifted blindly by director Hanabusa Tsutomu. Making affairs even worse, the character development and cast ensemble is mediocre at best. The veteran detective Koiso (played by Tayama Ryosei) however makes a passable impression.
Visually translating Suzuki's novel, the film achieves so with cheap-looking CGs and a re-imagination of Sadako. Not to reveal too much, let's just say that the filmmakers (in particularly art director & production designer Harada Yasuaki who re-engineered everybody's nightmare fiend) might have played a little too much of the Japanese survival horror video games.
There are a number of slanted shots by Fujimoto Nobushige, which seem to be adopted for mere aesthetic preference over visual composition choice. Also, if you find the film's soundtrack sounding like Death Note (particularly when the film enters investigative mode), it is Kenji Kawai with his lesser work of originality.
An interesting note is how they have created a gifted young lady protagonist (similar to Sadako with her kinetic powers) with the ability to counter the signature advances of Sadako. Looks like everybody's nemesis has finally met her match (and no, it's not yanking the power plugs of the television/monitor sets).
Mostly frights without fear, it is easier to persuade one to watch the cursed video than to recommend anyone who's not a genre exploitation fan to give this a shot.