Famous for 2002’s Ju-On: The Grudge, Takashi Himizu has now brought us Tormented 3D, which was literally called Rabbit Horror 3D in its native Japan. This 2011 film follows Kiriko (Hikari Mitsuhima), a mute girl who lives with her storybook artist father, Kohei (Teruyuki Kagawa) and her younger half-brother, Daigo (Takeru Shibuya). One day after school, Kiriko finds Daigo near the playground and watches, as he stones a bunny to death. After this event, he keeps seeing the bunny as a giant mascot all over the place, at the movies, in his own dreams and eventually in his own house. Kiriko finds Daigo hiding in an old closet, where plenty of hidden secrets of the family lie. This leads Kiriko and Daigo on a journey to find out the meaning of the rabbit and find out the real reasons of this creature is haunting them.
Tormented 3D is quite possibly the worst film I’ve seen this year and while it certainly shames me to say that, due to the talent attached, it manages to be one of the most contrived films in Himizu’s filmography. Out of the 83 minute running time, about 10 minutes is from Himizu’s Shock Labyrinth 3D. The main narrative tries to confuse the audience so many times throughout its entirety, with all its plot twists, that it loses its potency about half way through the film. There are elements that are built in that could certainly work, the symbolism with fairy tales, the vengeful ghost that reveals skeletons in the family’s closet and even some of the performances, but all of it comes crashing down with a plot that makes no sense and makes everything feel like a complete waste of time. With cinematography by Christopher Doyle and a score from Kenji Kawai, one would think that this film would be able to at least hold some interest, visually and sonically. The color palette and compositions are extremely boring and the score sounds like stock music tracks from hundreds of other J-Horror movies that left me feeling completely hollow.
I’m not the biggest proponent and champion of 3D in cinema, I’ve seen some good films done in the format and I’ve seen plenty of bad ones. Tormented 3D would happen to fall into the latter category, with its intentions being completely gimmicky and filled with stuff flying out at the screen, as opposed to trying to immerse the audience in the film. With rain drops freezing in front of you, to stuffed rabbits flying towards your face, the 3D felt like a schlocky horror film from the 1950’s. The film manages to build some atmosphere, but when the next moment is something flying at you, all of that gets removed and you find yourself wondering if 3D is supposed to be the next thing in cinema.
Tormented 3D is a terrible film and probably one of the worst things that Well Go USA has distributed. If you like the J-Horror genre and Himizu’s other works, you might be able to find something redeeming about the film, but I certainly didn’t and have no plans on watching anything else the man puts his hands on.