Instead, I got what amounts to a feature-length commercial for said Shock Labyrinth.
Also in 3-D (if you have the proper player), Tormented opens with 10-year-old Daigo (Takeru Shibuya, who acts primarily by blinking) putting a gravely injured rabbit out of its misery, much to the horror of his fellow classmates and his mute older sister, Kiriko (Hikari Mitsushima, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), a school librarian. Bullied for that act, Daigo withdraws from school soon after. His parents dont mind because theyre not around one literally, one figuratively; Kiriko is his virtual mother.
One day, she takes him to a 3-D movie: The Shock Labyrinth, in fact. At a point where a stuffed rabbit appears to emerge from the screen, Daigo reaches out and somehow catches it. He takes the bunny home, only for it to grow giant, come to life and pull him into a fantasy world. (Luckily, the animal is still cute; were not talking a Donnie Darko rabbit here.)
This alternate-reality trip repeats itself a couple of times. A twist arrives at the 50-minute mark after Daigo gets pulled into The Shock Labyrinth, but it hardly registers as a shock. The story has unfolded in such a halfhearted fashion up to this point that any investment on the viewers part long has waned. What happens suddenly isnt going to regain goodwill, as its kind of a foregone conclusion. Besides, check out that guy on the left trying to restrain Kiriko: Hes laughing! Mind you, humor is not what Shimizu is going for.
I understand (now, because its not mentioned on the cover) that Tormented is intended as some sort of companion piece to The Shock Labyrinth. To me, it didnt do enough to distinguish itself as worth standing on its own, so if you disliked the previous film, youre apt to feel chilly toward this semi-sequel. Rod Lott
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The Shock Labyrinth Blu-ray review