Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 15th, 2012
BluRay released: May 8th, 2012
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese, Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese, DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
BluRay Release: Well Go USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
The Shock Labyrinth was directed by Takashi Shimizu, who is most known for writing and directing the Ju-on series. He also directed the two Hollywood remakes of The Grudge. Content wise The Shock Labyrinth is right in line with Takashi Shimizu other J Horror films. With the twist this time around being the addition of 3-D. In fact the film is touted as Japan’s first 3-D horror film.
From a premise stand point the film has a good foundation. And the opening act does a great job setting things up. Unfortunately once the action shifts towards the four friends, who now find themselves trapped in a amusement park’s house of horrors. The film starts to unravel. And this downward spiral continues its course right on through to a predictable ending.
Besides the aforementioned predictable plot that for the most part just meanders along. Another area in which this film far too often comes up short. It is inability to build suspense and deliver any truly horrific scares.
From a production standpoint the visuals are the one area in which things do gel. For the most part the visuals have a dreamlike / nightmarish duality to them that gives this film some much needed atmosphere. Working with 3-D can be a tricky task and far too often the effect can look forced. And while there are moments that fall into this category in The Shock Labyrinth. For the most part the 3-D effects work really well within the confines of the story.
Performance wise the cast are merely adequate in their respective roles. Some of the blame for the shortcomings of the performances. Should fall on that film’s lack depth and character development. The characters in this film are best viewed as chess pieces that are strategically maneuvered by the director for maximum effect. Ultimately The Shock Labyrinth is a fairly routine J Horror film that relies too heavily on its gimmick 3-D.
The Shock Labyrinth comes on a 50 GB dual 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. For the 2D version of the film this transfer does a very good retaining this film’s intended look. Also there are no problems with compression and DNR is kept in check. Quality wise, the 3D transfer is comparable to the aforementioned 2D transfer.
This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Japanese, a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Japanese, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Range wise all of the audio mixes do a very good job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack. This release comes with removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free.
Extras include a trailer for the film (2 minutes -anamorphic widescreen), Press Conference and Opening Day footage (2 minutes 48 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles), three behind the scenes segments ‘Cast and Crew Fooling Around and Shooting Last Scenes’, ‘The Haunted House and Scary Dummies’ and ‘The Secret of the Stereoscopic Camera’ (9 minutes 55 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles) and interviews with director Takashi Shimizu, actors Yûya Yagira, Ryo Katsuji, actresses Ai Maeda, Erina Mizuno and Misako Renbutsu (27 minutes 6 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Japanese with English subtitles). Even though these behind the scene segments and interviews are far from being all encompassing. There is plenty that can be gleaned from them. Especially the interview with director Takashi Shimizu. Also included with this release are trailers for other titles also available from Well Go USA. Overall The Shock Labyrinth get a strong release from Well Go USA.
Note: Also included with this combo release is a DVD copy that has all the contents that are included on the BluRay counterpart, expect for a 3D version of the film.