Daigo and Kiriko are half brother and sister, sharing the same father. Kiriko is a mute, but she dearly loves her little brother and communicates with him through a notepad she carries with her. The pair live with their father, who is an artist buried in his work of putting together a pop-up version of the Little Mermaid story. After his second wife died, he became buried under his own grief, and doesn’t spend a lot of time being a father anymore.
One day at school, Daigo finds a rabbit who had given birth, but something went wrong and the rabbit lay there suffering and dying. He picked up a large rock and put the rabbit out of its misery. Kiriko saw him do this. After this incident, she took him to see a 3D film at the theater, which was actually the film Schock Labryinth 3D, which this film draws heavily from both in locations and story elements, and after that, Daigo starts seeing this giant rabbit character, like you’d see at an amusement park. He starts having nightmares about it, and eventually Kiriko starts seeing it as well. As they fall deeper and deeper into the nightmarish encounters with the rabbit, secrets start to emerge. Secrets, that reveal the truth of the family’s past, and that probably were better left buried.
I don’t remember when it was exactly, but a while back I reviewed The Shock Labyrinth 3D, also from director Takashi Shimizu, and I wasn’t overly impressed by it. I’m not a fan of films that exist just to be weird and that are written and presented in such a way as to largely leave the viewer confused throughout most of the film until the big reveal at the end. Call me crazy, but I like to actually see a story progress throughout a film so that the viewer can follow that progression to its eventual conclusion. I’m not saying they can’t ever be a little confusing or leave you scratching your head at times, but I like to see some progress rather than just a series of vague happenings that don’t really feel like they’re taking you anywhere you’re interested in going. Both films are rather vague in their storytelling, but this one was actually far worse in that regard. Eventually things come together, but it’s only after a trip that will likely leave you frustrated, and will almost definitely leave you not wanting to take that trip again.
The biggest problem with this film is how many elements it pulls from Shock Labryinth 3D. This may just be me personally, but I found that to be rather lazy. Rather than telling a fully independent story, they pull this one thematic element of the white rabbit, which in the other film was actually a backpack, and use it in a different way than they did in The Shock Labyrinth. Using the same locations that they used in the other films as well on top of that though was just too much. There was no reason whatsoever they couldn’t have told a completely independent story here, or at the very most, had them use the white rabbit backpack they saw in the previous film be the trigger for other things.
As many problems as this film suffered from, there is one problem this film didn’t suffer from, and that’s poor acting. The cast in this film was actually really great. So great in fact, that I felt bad for them being stuck in such a lame, confusing story.
This film was done in 3D, just as The Shock Labyrinth was, and as such, there are many scenes that were specifically done to take advantage of 3D. These scenes are far too obvious, and when watching the film in 2D, which I had to do because I don’t have a 3D blu-ray player yet, it just leaves you sitting there feeling like, "Ok, I get it. It’s 3D. Yawn…".
I can’t speak for everyone obviously, but for me, these 3D specific shots in films leave me feeling like they’re interrupting the story just to throw in a "cool 3D" shot rather than focusing on the storytelling. Then again, I’m not overly impressed with 3D anyway. I have a 3D television and I’ve seen true 3D on DirecTV 3D channels. It’s cool and all, but I wouldn’t want to watch an entire movie in 3D. Personally, I get tired of it after about fifteen or twenty minutes and switch back to 2D channels. That’s just me. I really don’t honestly care if a movie is in 3D or not though, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the telling of the story or the pacing of the film. That’s why I hate seeing shots thrown in that visually, you can tell only exist to show off the 3D.
While the acting in this film was stellar, it wasn’t enough to save it from itself. Unfortunately, I just can’t recommend this one. This film had every potential to be cool and creepy, but just didn’t hit the mark.
If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Well Go USA website here, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the blu-ray or DVD from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.