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A mysterious, white-clad man is seen dropping a long-haired woman into a well. The well is full of women, all with long hair, all dressed in night-dresses. Thirteen years after the original film, two mysterious suicides- one at a bus station, and the other involving a schoolgirl prompt Detective Koiso and his partner to investigate a string of mysterious deaths. The deaths involve video played on devices, with a voice saying "You're not the one", just before the deaths.
For more about Sadako 3D and the Sadako 3D Blu-ray release, see Sadako 3D Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on June 3, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Satomi Ishihara
» See full cast & crew
Sadako 3D Blu-ray Review
Error 405: Comprehensible Film Not Found.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, June 3, 2013
Would it be too on the nose to deride Sadako 3D as a "cursed video"? That epithet is bandied about so much in the film (actually usually modified as "cursed video clip") that perhaps one can be forgiven for coming to the conclusion it's a not so subliminal message about the film itself. When the original Japanese version of Ring appeared in 1998, it was an admittedly spooky little entry that nicely played on the perhaps intentional irony of never knowing quite what to expect when popping a VHS tape (remember those?) into your VCR (remember those)? The Japanese entry was followed by a two unrelated sequels, as well as a prequel just for good measure, and of course international remakes started popping up, including the 2002 American version. To its credit Sadako 3D at least attempts to update the franchise, substituting streaming video for those clunky old tapes, but the film doesn't even have the courage of its own premise. Some of the biggest "scares" in Sadako 3D have absolutely nothing to do with the so-called "cursed video clip" and in fact stem from good old hoary horror film clichés like jump cuts set to shuddering low frequency effects on the soundtrack. Some of these supposed "scares" are of things as banal as a schoolgirl showing up in a hallway. The horror. Perhaps more debilitating than this situation (which actually becomes kind of funny after a while) is the fact that Sadako 3D's screenplay is such a jumble that even rabid Ring franchise fans (and there must be somesomewhere) may have a hard time untangling the overly contrived and actually downright confusing plot.
One of the weirder aspects of this particular entry in the ever growing Ring canon (there's evidently yet another sequel to this film already in the works) is that unlike at least some of the previous entries, the "cursed video" doesn't fall into various people's lives unexpectedly, but in fact is sought out by various folks. Now, let's just ponder this for a moment. There is a video that has gained the cachet (if that's what you want to call it) of being "cursed", with at the very least an urban legend growing up around it that if you watch it, you'll commit suicide. Would you go seeking this thing out? This premise becomes even more ludicrous when the supposed "urban legend" becomes all too real for some young students at an all girls' school when one of their classmates, whom the girls know was looking for the video, does in fact commit suicide evidently after having finally seen it. Wouldn't that be a shot across the bow of sorts warning you not to seek it out? Well, there wouldn't be much of a film if that kind of logic were to prevail, would there?
It's impossible to ferret out some of Sadako 3D's plot points without inferring quite a bit of information, since the film is rather discursive and perhaps relies too much on an assumption that everyone coming to the film will be thoroughly schooled in the Ring universe (even those with an above average knowledge of the franchise may well not understand every jot and tittle of this outing). We're introduced to an apparently deranged young man in the film's prelude who is seen tossing the latest white clad long haired girl into a well, where she lands atop a gaggle of other white clad long haired girls. This young man then evidently broadcasts his suicide (or is it murder?) on streaming video, which evidently all sorts of people are tuned into for reasons which are never fully disclosed. The young man is ultimately revealed to be a tortured artist named Seiji Kashiwada (Yusuke Yamamoto). While it's never really explained very well, Seiji has evidently made a telepathic connection with Sadako, the similarly tortured young girl of previous Ring outings, and he wants to utilize the spirit of the girl to wreak revenge on a society whom he apparently feels has "done him wrong". (A lot of the foregoing is not explicitly spelled out in the film and is in fact left for viewers to more or less surmise.)
Some elements of Sadako 3D are maddeningly opaque, including why exactly Kashiwada has fixated on Sadako, and how he's connected to the ultimate heroine of the film, Akane Ayukawa (Satomi Ishihara), a young woman who was the teacher of the young girl who supposedly committed suicide. Akane later walks in on another girl attempting to view the cursed video (someone really needs to better educate these kids about the dangers of the internet), actually rescuing her when Sadako emerges from the monitor and attempts to ensnare the girl with Sadako's long black tresses. What ultimately is revealed is that Sadako is looking for a new "host" to inhabit so that she can carry out Kashiwada's wishes, and of course Akane turns out to be that perfect vehicle.
Sadako 3D is so relentlessly silly so much of the time it's almost hard to deal with it as anything other than an unintended comedy. For one thing, Akane is a telekinetic, a woman whose screams can shatter computer monitors and thus deprive Sadako of her portal to reaching our world. Later, Akane's screams make Sadako evaporate into a puff of smoke (and butterfliesbut who's counting?). But literally the last half hour of this film consists of Sadako chasing Akane through various locations, with Akane emitting little winded puffs of angst, but never her ear shattering scream that evidently could have put an end to the terror in one fell swoop.
Too often a seemingly innovative premise is then milked into a supposed franchise that offers diminishing returns, and that's certainly the case with Sadako 3D. I'd use that hoary old phrase "gone to the well once too often", but that might only conjure up images of hordes of Sadakos waiting in their watery lair to strike again.
Sadako 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sadako 3D is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA with both AVC (2D) and MVC (3D) encoded 1080p transfers in 1.78:1. As readers of my reviews may know, I'm often on record of stating how relatively flat and textureless some digitally shot features are, and that's rather ironically the case with this Red One lensed feature. While the image is as clear and well defined as the best HD native material usually is, there's a really surprising lack of depth to this offering, at least in its 2D rendering. Colors have been graded rather aggressively, with a kind of blanched look that robs the film of vividness. There are also a couple of sequences that seem to be littered with noise, though I'm frankly not sure if perhaps this effect was added in post to somehow delineate the "real" world from the virtual one. The fact that the film is so unclear on so many levels that even this seemingly cut and dried issue can't be discerned is perhaps another indication of how confusing Sadako 3D can be.
The 3D experience here is generally fine, if awfully dependent on some fairly silly and trite effects. Over and over, Sadako's hand or other elements (like her hairyes, her hair) penetrate straight out toward the viewer. Later, after Akane's telekinesis is revealed and she begin shattering various computer monitors, shards of glass fly straight at the viewer. Aside from these effects, however, things are rather surprisingly restrained. Even an opening sequence which is shot from the perspective of the bottom of the well where Sadako "resides" is weirdly lacking in depth. Generally the film tends to utilize well worn 3D tropes like an out of focus foreground object providing a sense of depth while a scene plays out in the background.
Sadako 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
From a purely technical perspective, by far the best thing about Sadako 3D is its extremely lively and boisterous lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (in Japanese). This is a film that isn't, to use Spinal Tap parlance, merely turned "up to 11", it's pushed fairly well toward the "12" range. Effects burst almost nonstop through the surround channels, and the film is awash in lots of LFE, some of it frankly stupid (the aforementioned jump cut revealing gaspa girl in a hall), but some quite effective (as in the finale's longish chase scene). Fidelity is excellent, with dialogue and effects all presented with crystalline clarity. Even though the film tends to wallow in hyperbole (including pretty loud volume a lot of the time), dynamic range is surprisingly wide.
Sadako 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sadako 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Not to put too fine a point on it, the whole premise of Sadako 3D is that a video can kill, and you may indeed be bored to death by this flabby, inconsistent film. 3D fans may at least get some passing kicks out of some of the visual gimmicks that are offered.
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Sadako 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Sadako 3D - June 3, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Well Go USA are offering three members a chance to win a copy of Sadako 3D. This latest entry in the popular Ring franchise updates the story from the days of VHS to au courant streaming video. Sadako 3D streets on June 4.
• Sadako 3D Blu-ray - April 8, 2013
Texas-based distributors Well Go USA have officially announced that they will release on Blu-ray the latest installment in the frightening Ring franchise, Japanese director Tsutomu Hanabusa Sadako 3D. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores ...
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