Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 10th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2012
Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa
Writers: Yoshinobu Fujioka, Tsutomu Hanabusa
Cast: Satomi Ishihara, Kôji Seto, Tsutomu Takahashi, Shôta Sometani, Hikari Takara, Yûsuke Yamamoto, Ryôsei Tayama
BluRay released: June 4th, 2013
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Unless you have lived under a rock for the last fifteen years. The chances that you have not seen a J-Horror film or the handful of American made remakes is very slim. And though the genre had long run its course with audiences almost a decade before. That has not stop filmmakers from making numerous send ups of the genre or worse yet trying to recapture the essence of what J-Horror film’s as terrifying as they were, when things were done right. So in the universe of J-Horror cinema how does Sadako stack up?
To its credit it has all the ingredients one would want out of a J-Horror film. Unfortunately it is the execution of the ideas contained within this film that often comes up short. Some of the blame of why this film is not affective as it could have been is the use of the 3-D format. And it is precisely during these 3-D moments that this film’s loses its momentum. These 3-D moments are to gimmicky and they all but deflate any chance of sustaining terror. Another area that should burden the brunt of this film’s short comings is its direction which is predicable and generally uninspired.
Another point that should be brought up is that I find it very difficult to believe that those involved in making this film were trying to do a send up of the J-Horror genre and anything remotely humorous in this has to be by pure accident.
Looking back at what had come before Sadako there were many landmark films Ringu and Ju-on, who’s legacies ultimately proves to be insurmountable forces that are most definitely never going to be eclipsed. At this point it seems pointless to continue on with the dark haired character that has inhabited countless of these J-Horror films. If the horror genre in Japanese cinema is ever going to be relevant ever again. It truly needs to reinvent itself like it did in the late 1990’s.
Overall not matter which way to you cut it, Sadako is a mediocre film that even the most diehard J-Horror fan are going to find near impossible not to cringe at the events which unfold onscreen.
Sadako comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. This BluRay disc contains two versions of the film, the 2D version and the #D version of the film. Outside of some darker moments the image generally looks crisp throughout. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels fare well and any issues with compression are for the most part mild. The 3-D version of the film looks comparable to the aforementioned 2-D version. With the main difference being that the colors look slightly more vibrant in the 3-D version.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Japanese and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Japanese. The DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Japanese sounds very good as dialog comes through clearly, everything sound balanced and robust went it needs. The audio really kicks into high gear, especially during the more 3-D driven moments. The other mix included with this release sound clear and balanced throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film and trailers for other titles also available on from Well Go USA. Overall Sadako gets a strong audio / video presentation from Well Go USA.
Note: This film is also being released by Well Go USA on DVD.