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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Children > Hospital > Haunted House > Japan > Shock Labyrinth 3D (2009/Well Go USA Blu-ray 3D/2D w/DVD)

Shock Labyrinth 3D (2009/Well Go USA Blu-ray 3D/2D w/DVD)

 

3D Picture: B-     2D Picture: B-/C+     Sound: B/C+     Extras: C+     Film: C+

 

 

Takashi Shimizu is best known for the original Grudge films and also made the highly disappointing Reincarnation (2005, reviewed elsewhere on this site), so I thought it was interesting that he would make a 3D film and with a mostly young cast.  The result is Shock Labyrinth 3D (2009), which could have been another torture porn project with lame child-in-jeopardy obviousness and desperation, but it is something a bit different and though not great, a change of pace that has its moments.

 

A young female who has been missing for 10 years suddenly shows up (she has long dark hair and a long white t-shirt, but is not the clichéd symbol of Asian Horror that has long since played out) and after her parents are contacted, they take her immediately to the hospital.  It is supposed to be active, but it is late and they enter anyhow, not questioning what is going on.  Unfortunately, the place is almost empty, haunted and something supernatural and sinister is going on.

 

What follows has some suspense, some terror, yet is on the lite side of this, still offering horrific images, but those that might make more sense in a child’s thinking and definitely in a haunted house film.  With the 3D, one might immediately compare it to the CG animated feature Monster House (reviewed on Blu-ray 3D elsewhere on this site), but we get no comedy, more character study and flashbacks that have blown-out video white reminiscent of many Anime features and TV series, which is yet another uneasy child reference.

 

The acting is not bad and the look is not bad either, but the result is a series of interesting moments that do not add up like they could or should because Shimizu is more interested in multiple child points of view than a traditional narrative.  In either 3D or 2D, it is about the same experience, but the 3D has some advantages in the sense of bringing the supernatural to life, while the 2D is more palpable and you can see some detail the 3D misses or glosses over.  Shimizu’s command of 3D is limited, which limits him all around, but this is still worth a look for just being so different, less obvious and something genre fans will find a refreshing change when it does work.  There were no real shocks in Shock Labyrinth 3D, but it shows another side of its director and bucks how played out the genre has been in recent decades.

 

 

The 1.85 X 1, 1080p full HD MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image has some depth and nice demo shots unlike anything you might have seen in 3D before, especially when they are simply different.  Shot in 3D HD, it has some detail limits in this version or the 1080p 1.85 X 1 2D digital High Definition image transfer included on the same disc.  Still, I liked some of the shots and at least this has some distinguished character, making both versions interesting to watch and to compare to each other.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD image is softer than either that the Blu-ray offers, but not as bad as expected.

 

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is even better than either image option with some fine sound design, a consistent soundfield and nice sense of envelopment that includes ambient sound and even silence to work.  This embarrasses many a Hollywood production of the last few years as well.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is active, but nowhere nearly as good, warm or consistent.  Extras include trailers, interviews and behind the scenes clips including some insight on Shimizu’s approach to the production.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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