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Horror Pick: Tormented

By Grady Hendrix

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(Well Go USA, $24.98)

Tormented Takshi Shimizu

Better known as Rabbit Horror, this 2011 3-D movie from Ju-On director and J-horror pioneer Takashi Shimizu and cinematographer Christopher Doyle, is less a horror movie than a trippy take on Alice in Wonderland. It opens with a splat as 10-year-old Daigo puts a sick rabbit out of its misery with a cinderblock. Daigo is constantly taunted by his classmates and so his mute sister lets him withdraw from school, much as their bereaved father has withdrawn from life and locked himself away in their house. The family is still reeling after Mom’s death, and it’s up to a six-foot-tall, possibly evil bunny to drag the three of them through its zippered belly and into a series of darkly gleaming gothic set-pieces on the path to emotional healing. Although the richly resonant visuals and settings (an abandoned hospital, a nighttime carnival) almost allow the film to transcend its genre, ultimately Tormented winds up as less than the sum of its atmospheric parts.

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