Dishonorable mention: “Sadako 3D” (2012)

God. Damn. It.

Maybe you hadn’t heard, but I’m a big J-Horror fan. I’m a big fan of East Asian horror cinema in general. I’ll save the reasons why for another post; suffice to say that there are themes and images that I find particularly compelling in horror from that part of the world.

Ringu holds a special place in my heart, as my first real contact with Asian horror cinema. To this day I consider it to be one of the best horror films ever made. It may be played out, and the long-haired female ghost may be so trite as to have lost its ability to scare–but it’s only that way because of Ringu. When that film came out and these concepts and images were (relatively) fresh, holy crap was that shit scary.

Regrettably, Ringu suffered from a number of crappy sequels. The prequel, Ringu 0: Basudeiwas actually pretty good, and represented a return to the feel of the original (even though it featured a different director). But Ringu 2 and Rasen were not so great (Rasen was so bad that they officially retconned it). It’s been a while since I’ve seen them, but I’ve never felt particularly inclined to revisit them–they just weren’t worth it.

Alas, Sadako 3D does absolutely nothing to reverse the unfortunate trend. If anything, it significantly worsens things by J-popping it all up, totally abandoning all but the most tenuous of connections to the earlier films’ overarching plot, and throwing in a bunch of crappy 3D effects (I watched it on my PC without the 3D effects, so maybe the CGI looks better if you actually view it in 3D, though I doubt it).

You want a summary? Fine. Jerk. So the cursed video you may recall from the original is gone, replaced by–get this–a different cursed video. Except this one is online, because it’s 2012, bro! And it’s not Sadako, but some Bieberish Japanese teen idol with washboard abs and too much time on his hands. See, this guy apparently wants to resurrect Sadako, because he was a struggling artist and people made fun of him on the internet, so now he wants to kill everybody! Of course! Enter YouTube!

If you’re familiar with the Ring franchise, either the movies or the novels (of which I’ve only read the first), Sadako’s goal all along has been to be reborn (verbs!). So that part makes sense, I suppose, in terms of the original’s plot. And to the credit of the filmmakers, they abandoned the pseudosciency ghost/virus thing they had going on in the originals in favor of straight up ghostly mayhem.

That is the end of the nice things I have to say.

Nothing else here is good. There’s nothing scary, first of all, though at this stage I honestly doubt if there are any films left that I’ll find frightening. A major down side to watching this much horror is that nothing frightens me anymore.

Horror cinema-wise, I mean. This is not an invitation to try to freak me out, Greg.

Seriously though, this film is just laughable. Between the cheesy effects and phoned-in plot, there’s really nothing going on here. The gimmick, the thing that’s added to, I guess, make this film somehow stand out from the previous entries (aside from the aforementioned 3D effects) is the fricking swarm of Sadako-spiders that come skittering out of the well. 

Does that sound like it should be cool? You’d think so. Somehow it is not.

Sure, I wouldn't introduce her to the folks, but I mean, come on. That's hot.

Sure, I wouldn’t introduce her to the folks, but I mean, come on. That’s hot.

Leaving aside the fact that it’s never explained, and I can’t wrap my head around how it relates to any of the other Sadako mythos, it is just stupid. A guy gets his throat ripped out by one of them. How is this the same ghost lady from Ringu?

And seriously, somebody else please watch this and explain to me why the young male detective, the guy who’s always fiddling around on his iPad, appears in his final scene dressed up like Sadako, with a white dress and wig and everything. What the hell.

The only other positive is Ishihara Satomi, but she’s not enough to save it. Thank god they didn’t put the Ringu name on this one. We’ll just ignore it, same as with Rasen.

The ending is nonsensical and sickeningly sweet, and it definitely does not leave you wanting more. Apparently nobody agrees with me, though, because the sequel is on its way.

Here’s the trailer for that one, too, so I don’t have to revisit it in a future post.

But I totally will anyway.

Sigh.

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7 thoughts on “Dishonorable mention: “Sadako 3D” (2012)

    • Haha, yeah. Well, there’s probably a reason for that. It’s interesting to see them on an academic level, I guess–but you can seriously skip Rasen completely. It’s a mess. And Sadako 3D, of course. Bleh.

  1. I love Asian horror, but I’m not sure if it’s now past its sell by date? I loved the Ring when I first saw it, and tolerated the sequels but didn’t really like the prequel – sometimes I just like my evil spirits to be evil and I don’t want to have to empathise with them! But this new one sounds pretty pants! (Obviously I will go and see it because I am a sucker for horror films, but I will remain smugly aloof and derisive of it!)

    • That’s the right approach, definitely.

      Might I recommend Yam Laranas’ work? He’s a Filipino director who’s got a few excellent horror films to his credit. Also, the South Korean film “A Tale of Two Sisters” = brilliant.

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