Don’t Watch These, pt. 2: The Zellwegering

Time for another installment of everybody’s favorite comedy program! I’m your host– ah, screw it. I can’t keep that up. Only Mark Hamill as the Joker can manage that kind of schtick these days.

This one’s a little longer on text and shorter on films than the previous one, as I’ve been distracted by other things. But on the bright side, these are real stinkers. Don’t watch them.

Case 39 is a slow-paced, utterly generic child-as-devil film that, though solidly put together, really has nothing to recommend it–unless you like lots of purposeful walking down hallways and squinting, in which case, did I mention it has Renee Zelwegger? The story centers on Emily, a social worker who rescues 10-year-old Lily (short, of course, for Lilith) from her apparently abusive parents, only to find out that Lilith ain’t named Lilith for nothin’. “Competent” is a word that connotes goodness, when used in film reviews, and while I would describe this film as competent, I only mean that it is not atrocious. There’s no reason to watch this movie unless you’re stuck in the waiting room of a very progressive, and very ironic, pediatrician. Also, the speed with which the anti-supernatural-crazy-stuff cop reverses his view and signs up for killing the little girl? That’s the really scary part. Jesus. ALSO also, the cop takes a sawn-off shotgun out of his department’s armory. WTF??!! They’ve been doing some zombie-hunting, apparently. Gawd.

3 A.M. 3D reminded me a great deal of Phobia 2, which was my very first official horror review on this blog. Sadly, beyond the fact that they’re both Thai films, the resemblance is largely aesthetic, as 3 A.M. has none of the latter film’s high points. The first two shorts are utterly unimpressive exercises in banality. The first had some potential in terms of the setup: it’s about two sisters whose parents run a wig shop where they make wigs from real human hair. Lots of scary potential there, but it falls flat. The second, “Bridal House of the Dead,” throws in a little necrophilia for good measure. It’s about a guy who is supposed to stay in the house of a recently deceased couple and make sure that the necessary ceremonies for placating their spirits are observed. Again, lots of promise, but then the whole necro thing happens for no plausible reason–the guy just decides, hey, this seems like a good idea, because he feels sorry for the life the dead lady lived–and nothing happens to redeem it. The only one worth watching is the final short, “O.T.,” which is more of a zany office comedy than a horror short. It’s mildly amusing, but not enough to save this anthology from mediocrity.

This… I just… I don’t even know. Nothing. No words.

No, I lied. Here are some words: this sucks. Shimizu Takashi, what have you done? For one thing, the English title, Tormented, is really misleading. Sure, there’s a person who is tormented by guilt, ho ho. But that might lead one to believe, if one were a horror veteran, that this is actually a scary movie, rather than the nonsensical trainwreck of half-baked symbolism it turns out to be. They should have just kept the Japanese title, Rabitto Horā. In case that doesn’t immediately make sense to you, this is a transliteration of a Japanese pronunciation of English words. That’s right: the real title is Rabbit Horror. And by god, at least that title is 50% honest. Unfortunately the half that’s accurate is the freaking rabbit part. You’ve got a girl, Kiriko, and her brother Daigo, who at the very beginning mercy-kills a dying rabbit. Then there’s this goddamned person-in-a-rabbit-suit theme that lasts the whole damned movie, and between the ridiculous carnival imagery and the stupid, winking, fluffy rabbit that never approaches frightening, there’s a lot of elements that almost offend me as a cinemagoer. Seriously, when your whole movie hinges on a handful of incredibly predictable plot twists coupled with 3D CGI, and neither of these are well-executed, what are you left with? Admittedly the 3D would probably look better on a 3D screen, but I seriously stopped caring 237 words ago.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Watch These, pt. 2: The Zellwegering

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