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2.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Review: "Sadako 3D", May 23, 2013
This review is from: Sadako [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Oh, "Sadako 3D." How unfulfilled I was left after watching you. I waited many months for a proper U.S. release and Well Go USA fulfilled my want. Unfortunately, my excitement was drowned out by an offensive mish mash of "A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge," "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors," and "The Exorcist: The Version You've never Seen."

A high school teacher named Akane (Satomi Ishihara) hears rumors of a cursed video clip circulating online. The clip is said to show a man, Kashiwada (Yűsuke Yamamoto), commiting suicide. Supposedly, anyone who watches the video is driven to commit suicide themselves. Akane refuses to believe the rumors until one of her students mysteriously dies after viewing it.

Akane soon discovers that Kashiwada intends to use the clip to cause chaos and death, which will help the spirit of Sadako (Ai Hashimoto) find a host body for her to possess. Akane and her boyfriend (Kôji Seto) must find a way to stop Kashiwada from accomplishing his terrifying goal.

I can't believe for one second that anything in the last act of this film is taken from the novel "S," which it's based on. Judging from the other entries in the "Ring" series, writer Koji Suzuki seems way too sophisticated to stoop to the monster movie clichés we get in the "climax" of "Sadako 3D." I can believe the first and second acts of the film might be based on the actual source material. However, I can see producers and writers trying to up the scare ratio for audiences and completely ruining the film.

The general idea for "Sadako 3D" isn't the problem. The cursed video tape from "Ring" being converted into a file and uploaded to the internet is a natural progression that is very believable. The spirit of Sadako being able to manifest through any wireless device or computer hookup makes complete sense and is justifiably frightening. I just wish filmmakers would have spent a little extra time and money on CGI and practical effects to successfully convince me that what I was watching was authentic.

This is the perfect example of business executives and studio heads taking a simple, sacred, and tragic concept like the ghost of a vengeful girl and turning her into a monster movie icon the likes of Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers. It's not enough that Sadako climbs out of TV or computer screens. Now she has the ability to extend her long black CGI hair and wrap people in it as she pulls them to their deaths. As if that's not ridiculous enough, she also causes her victims to turn into spiderlike creatures.

The video quality and 5.1 surround sound mix work for and against "Sadako 3D." The high definition transfer brings out the weaknesses in the CGI and 3D special effects. The movie was obviously made in 3D with no thought as to how artificial it would appear in 2D. However, the creepy sound effects used help to redeem the film to an extent. They give it an extra boost it so desperately needs. If much of the imagery in the film won't dredge up scares, maybe some extra bumps, booms, and gurgles will.

There are no extras to be found on the Blu-ray edition of "Sadako 3D." We get the 3D and 2D versions and a trailer for the movie. It would've been interesting to get a short featurette showing the making of the film.

"Sadako 3D" does have a few chilling moments where we see traces of the main character we got to know in the first few films. Unfortunately, it's not enough to merit someone wasting their time on this. Do yourself a favor and re-watch "Ring" or "Ring O: Birthday" and witness Sadako the way she was originally conceived to be.
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