Thursday, May 17, 2012

LAAPFF: Tormented aka Rabbit Horror 3D Review

                                               above art work by Amy Sol, not intended for the film

Oh, let's all fall in love with a horrible bunny creature from our nightmares. Tormented aka Rabbit Horror 3D, which is a title hated by the director, but left in by the funny producers was shown as part of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. The director and some of his friends and crew came down for the event. 

The film was co-presented from the good folks at Giant Robot who always seem to bring some cool foreign film for our viewing pleasure and always seem to be apart of fun events happening in the city. The Japan Film Festival was also co-presenting, as I wrote earlier they've had some lackluster films two years in a row now. They just had their festival in April and it was depressing and lacked any of the fun films the speaker for them spoke of before the film played? She spoke of anime and action, but this last festival was just drama and documentaries. They really have to step up next year or the short, but fun Eiga Film Festival might replace them.

Back to the film from Takashi Shimizu who did Ju-On: The Grudge. His recent film Shock Labyrinth just got released here in the states and has a damning review from Twitch Film here. I hope Well Go USA can make its money back when Tormented is released from them. Strangely, enough Shock Labyrinth created Tormented by producers begging for a sequel, but Takashi saying no and wanting to do something like Shock, but not a sequel.

Tormented scares and leaves you with an intense fear of going to the cinema and the people in those costumes at theme parks. You know those creepy animal costume type people, what's underneath the costume may shock you. The film was shot in early 3D, but you won't notice any differences between it and the standard if it's somehow shown in theaters, very unlikely. Takashi blends a frightful tale of losing ones mind, family and having a main actress who only speaks once.

Right off the bat or should I right off the bloody rock smashing in a cute little rabbit's head, the film is all about the creepy bunny suit monster and unsettling visuals. For our story, Kiriko and Daigo are brother and sister from different Moms. No, they aren't psychic like your usual horror brother and sister duo, but, they aren't popular either. Daigo goes to school like any little boy and Kiriko's the librarian at it. One day Daigo ends a rabbit's life after he sees it suffering with that rock smash I was talking about. It didn't make him popular, also Kiriko can't speak.

Kiriko's Dad has escaped from reality a bit and is constantly working on pop-up picture books which I thought were fit for a young readers consumption.  I'm saying that the picture books were of such high standard, Scholastic should take notice. If they notice books in horror movies I guess. Visuals and sort of a overlaying story from the pop-up books about a mermaid losing her voice tie into the story and lead to some great shots of these pop-up books being part of the film.

So how does an evil bunny get mixed in? Putting on some 3D glasses for himself at a nice Japanese theater, note here
*Japanese cinemas have lights on the backs of chairs, not powerful lights, but lights in any case. I guess it's too easily get up and move, but to leave them on during a film, that just isn't right.

Anyway, from a 3D film Daigo plucks a cute ol' lil' bunny rabbit doll. Then the trouble starts.

Hello, cute little bunny! Oh, what go into a magical adventure theme park, what could go wrong. In a lot of ways Takashi could easily transition into family friendly kid movies as everything starts of so magical and nice. What's that Mr. Bunny visit the hospital, why...Oh God what the Hell happened to you head?! It's all more real and life like, like that bunny I smashed...oh.

This is only the start of trippy visuals and a mysterious back-story of what you thought you knew gets blown out the window and no, no one get really blown out a window.

Takashi's visuals are on par with Takashi Miike's work. The realistic bunny head on a costume body, that gets all the more freakish and even gains bunny nipples will leave you wanting to not hang out at any petting zoos at night. Not like they have petting zoos at night and if they do, somethings just wrong.

Hikari Mitsushima who played Kiriko has my praise for playing a mute women, yet kept me entertained. Same goes for a director who can keep me involved in a story where a lot of time no one says a word.

Do your self a favor and pick this up and add it to your collection. Well Go USA's families got to eat.

After the filmed the director took some time for answer audience questions. Director Takashi shared a bit about how the Scandal song the appears at the end of the film was tacked on, because the studio or producers also own the the band. He didn't feel it was right for the film, but does note Scandal did take time and effort in their song and did converse with him over it.

In answering one of my questions, Takashi explained how Rabbit Horror 3D was just a tentative title. It was supposed to be changed, but the producers liked it so it was kept. He blamed the name for not doing well at the box office in Japan. The American title of Tormented is also not his favorite choice for the film, so no luck for him here either.

I hope he gets lucky with a bigger market seeing his film. That bunny doll could easily become fan art or a nice horrible collectible.