The Ring series , and the first film in particular, were really influential in the J-horror boon. Re-releases of Asian horror films in the U.S. soon led to a glut of American remakes, and eventually as happens with these crazes, the market became over saturated with lesser quality films, and eventually interest waned.
Now comes the release of Sadako 3D, an attempt to restart the Ring franchise. Sadako 3D Arrives following the first 3 films, the American remake and its sequel, and countless copycats since. The result is lackluster. In no way does Sadako 3D live up to the creeping dread of the original. What we have here is a film overflowing with 3D gags, and a weird tonal shift from psychological horror to an outright monster onslaught. It does have its merits as a fun film with some interesting imagery, but it lacks the intelligence and scares that make the original a classic.
The Ring series centered on a cursed video tape. The new film smartly updates this idea to become a cursed video clip on the web. However the suspense of the concept of watching the VHS and waiting to die is nullified by the fact that the cursed clip claims it’s victims immediately upon watching, making the death look like a suicide. Rather than the creepy montage that constituted the VHS tape, the video clip seals with the suicide on a popular internet artist, Kashiwada. Through convoluted details that I will fully admit I had trouble following, Kashiwada’s clip is part of a plan to resurrect Sadako, the creepy girl from the original films.
Soon we are introduced to Arkane, a school teacher with an unusual past of her own, and her boyfriend Takanori. Arkane’s students are falling victim to the curse, and before long the two are deeply entangled in Kashiwada’s plans, and must come face to face with the evil of Sadako herself.
If this all sounds a bit silly, that’s because it is. In many wise I was reminded of a later entry in the Elm Street series, with teens struggling to avoid video screens as opposed to sleep and dreams. As a solid entry to a succesful franchise, 3D fails miserably. However as a fun 3D horror flick, with some fun 3D gags, cool monsters, and a leave your brain at the door mentality, you could do a lot worse for a night’s entertainment than Sadako 3D.