Director: Hideo Nakata
Notable Cast: Elaiza Ikeda, Himeka Himejima, Hiroya Shimizu, Ren Kiriyama, Rie Tomosaka, Takashi Tsukamoto
In terms of franchises, the Ring franchise still might now be the wildest – despite intensive efforts to continually reboot it in some wild ways. It’s a weird one, often perplexing at times, but not necessarily the strangest one I’ve seen. After a relatively successful reboot in Japan of the series with Sadako 3D and Sadako 3D 2, the franchise took a wild swing with the entertaining Sadako Vs Kayako which serves as more of a “fan service” film rather than a true part of the original or the reboot franchise. It’s not that surprising then that the latest film, under the rather confusing title Sadako, also serves as something of a soft reboot. It’s a film that attempts to go back to the original’s tone and feeling with a few new themes thrown in as it strips back the wild aspects of the newer films for something a bit more traditional. This leaves Sadako feeling a bit anemic in its narrative, repetitive and unmemorable as it runs through many of the tropes, but disregards many of the other elements that made Sadako and her films horror classics.
The big reason that fans should be intrigued about Sadako is that it marks a return to the franchise by its directorial creator, Hideo Nakata since the disastrous The Ring Two. Dabbling on and off in horror for the last 20+ years, his track record can be hit or miss, but his return does perk a lot of interest. Perhaps it shouldn’t be so shocking that the film is more akin to the original run of Japanese films (including his own Ring and Ring 2 entries) in tone. It’s a shift that certainly sounds tempting on paper – being a loose reboot that only hints at being part of the same universe as previous films. Still, the execution of its ideas seems thin at best and leaves so much to be desired.