Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
Written by: Sôtarô Hayashi, Daisuke Hosaka, Takashi Shimizu
Starring: Teruyuki Kagawa, Hikari Mitsushima, Tamaki Ogawa
Synopsis: A young boy's psyche starts to break down in the aftermath of him killing a rabbit in front of his classmates. Said rabbit starts to show up in his nightmares, and his half-sister is forced to help him fight off the rabbit.

Horror movies, children, cutesy animals. What do they all have in common? Shitty directors thinking that juxtaposing all three of these elements will make an effective horror movie. That was my overall feeling after watching TORMENTED. I never quite connected with the characters, was pretty underwhelmed with the story, and thanks to my negative outlook on it, I managed to lower my friend Twitch Film’s own Peter Martin’s expectation’s so low that he actually enjoyed that movie.

Because I’m not going to be THAT guy that spoils a movie because he didn’t like it, I won’t go into much more plot details. Suffice to say, the best thing that TORMENETED has going for it is that the marketing is very deceptive. The synopsis reads like an Japanese DONNIE DARKO, but it does get to be something different. Think CABIN IN THE WOODS-type of bait & switch, but not in a good way. The sad thing is that the concept had a lot of potential, but the execution was totally off. 

Why didn’t this movie work for me? Truthfully speaking, the story never grabbed me. As a horror movie, there was never any “tension”, and the among many things, the pacing was very off. You had a whole lot of set up for plot points that never get developed to their fullest extent, or some plot points that just come out of nowhere.

One thing that I feel not many people can argue with me about is the quality of the visuals. I’m sure some of you have seen a bad Sy-fy original movie like Nuclear Grizzly-Shark or something similar. If you have, then you know the CGI in this movie was so bad that it's almost laughable. There are certain times when I thought it was a test shot that I was seeing. Even worse, apparently this movie was supposed to be in 3-D, we only saw the 2-D version, but I can't imagine that aspect helping the movie out at all.  For a movie done by the director of JU-ON, I would have expected something better.  

I think one of the few commendable things of this movie were the seamless transitions from set pieces to set pieces, especially in the rabbit-filled nightmare sequences. The character will be in a house one second and then move to an outdoor park the next pretty seamlessly. There is a very "stream of consciousness" feel to the "horror" of the movie, which is very surreal in a way that I did not expect. This faint praise is the most I can conjure up for this movie.

TORMENTED was one of those movies that is just not for me. I either had the improper expectations, or I'm just not savvy to the Japanese style of horror, but I just can't recommend it. The ending will probably leave you scratching your head and not in that cool ambiguous sort of way.

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