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The Shock Labyrinth

"The Grudge" series helmer Takashi Shimizu's "The Shock Labyrinth" has a lot more schlock than shock.

Cast:
With: Yuya Yagira, Ai Maeda, Ryo Katsuji, Susuki Matsuo, Shoichiro Masumoto, Misako Renbutsu, Erina Mizuno.

Billed as the first Japanese film shot in HD 3D, “The Grudge” series helmer Takashi Shimizu’s “The Shock Labyrinth” has a lot more schlock than shock. This occasionally campy and not very frightening yarn about a group of kids trapped in a deadly haunted house attraction sports a fairly audacious (though utterly confusing) structure, making for a pop-style J-horror experiment mixing elements of “Final Destination” with the narrative complexities of “Last Year at Marienbad.” Less exportable than Shimizu’s previous pics, “Labyrinth” will reach a B.O. dead end, though trap doors may open for overseas homevid.

It takes at least an hour to figure out how the dead and buried Yuki (Misako Renbutsu) has come back to life to pursue her former best buddies, and even then it’s not clear who’s dead or alive, what’s past or present, and why a floating bunny rabbit backpack keeps popping up and out of the screen (or why anyone would find that scary). Too caught up in its own shuffled storytelling to evoke the slightest of shivers, the hokey production receives little enhancement from 3D, which looks to be there for marketing purposes only.

The Shock Labyrinth

Japan

Production: An Asmik Ace Ent., Agung production, in association with Fortissimo Films. (International sales: Fortissimo, Amsterdam.) Produced by Masayuki Tanishima, Satoru Ogura, Dai Miyazaki. Directed by Takashi Shimizu. Screenplay, Daisuke Hosaka.

Crew: Camera (color, HD 3D), Tsukasa Tanabe; editor, Zensuke Hori; music, Kuniaki Hashima; production designer, Nori Fukuda. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 14, 2010. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Yuya Yagira, Ai Maeda, Ryo Katsuji, Susuki Matsuo, Shoichiro Masumoto, Misako Renbutsu, Erina Mizuno.

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