A group of teenagers take a sick girl to a hospital only to find out it is a horrific labyrinth.A group of teenagers take a sick girl to a hospital only to find out it is a horrific labyrinth.A group of teenagers take a sick girl to a hospital only to find out it is a horrific labyrinth.
Spooky premise? Shock Labyrinth as a movie bears some similarities to Silent Hill, House on Haunted Hill and Ju-On, though, unlike the aforementioned Japanese horror film, the feature, rather than being a combination of events set out of chronological order, provides the audience with an opposing atmosphere, where the past and the present frequently clash to reveal what really happened all those years ago.
Unlike contemporary horror, Yuki (Misako Renbutso) does not appear as a terrifying figure, kicking down the door, only to proclaim 'here's Johnny!'. Rather, she's portrayed as an adorably cute, innocent victim, who, for the entirety of the film is capable of receiving our sympathy. One look into her character's eyes, and we immediately melt, though the same cannot be said for the other leads that occupy this film.
Ken (Yuya Yagira), a young man who has only recently returned for reasons that are not thoroughly provided, and Motoko (Ryo Katsuji), who exhibits dominance over his group of friends, portray stereotypical male characters, who inevitably attempt to exert control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation when things start going wrong.
Myiu (Erina Mizuno), Yuki's younger sister, is as guilt ridden over her sister's disappearance as she is quick to blame her for all the wrongs in her life, while blind character Rin (Ai Maeda), is able to, despite her condition, take note of her surrounds through the environment's vibrations, allowing her to predict what awaits her and others in unexplored areas.
Instead of asking if Yuki is okay, the unanimous reaction upon her arrival is to treat her like a pariah, her four childhood friends initially viewing her as an unwanted hindrance. After an accident leaves Yuki unconscious, she is taken by her friends to the hospital, where they mysteriously discover they are the only people in the seemingly empty establishment. Here, the friends are forced to encounter the fateful day Yuki disappeared, an event most of them would rather forget, and as paranoia and mistrust set in, the characters are forced to confront their hidden desires and honest personalities. A particularly powerful scene involves Rin questioning the legitimacy of people's sympathy, which is just one example.
Friendship, peer pressure, family, resentment, jealousy and unrequited love are just some of the themes explored. Despite this, ironically, many of the characters remain two dimensional in a film marketed as a 3D feature. Besides the depth that is provided in a number of scenes, actual 3D affects are incredibly fleeting, and generally occur when the film happens to be moving in slow motion, which again, happens very infrequently. Often this involves a plush bunny, moving either on its own, or through the air, which, similar to a rabbit been pulled out of a hat, fails to excite after its first appearance.
The movie works best as a mystery, and is, in this sense, similar to a wheel of cheese, but instead of a mouse running off with the slices, the critter is returning them, the viewer being required to watch the entirety of the feature to satisfactorily understand what happened all those years ago. By the end, director Takashi Shimizu provides the audience with enough information to compliment both a rational, or an illogical ending, this decision solely been at the behest of the viewer.
Though there are several unique moments in this feature, the film doesn't prove to be in the slightest scary, and the symbolism of a forest, which appears more than once in the movie, is lost on me I'm afraid. Although this image could literally convey the notion of being lost in the woods, considering the film takes place in an amusement park, a different metaphor might have been appreciated.
Shock Labyrinth neither shocks its audience or provides them with a labyrinth, with corridors and images alike been repetitively explored. Despite its negative features, the mysterious plot will keep your interest peaked, and even if this begins to flounder, the promise of three gorgeous female characters and two handsome men will certainly keep your heart racing. In the end, you will more than likely be wondering: if my friends and I go somewhere we shouldn't, how safe will I truly be?
- Jan 25, 2015