Ah, torture porn. Filling the gap in the horror market since whenever it was that Japanese horror films ceased being relevant. This entry into the sub-genre is a pretty much a textbook example of the style, its perceived strengths and more frequently its glaring flaws.
Before the carnage ensues, a minimal plot is laid down with most characters only getting a solitary scene to win the audience’s sympathy. Unfortunately it’s all very perfunctory and none of them come off as particularly likeable. Maybe that’s because in this type of horror you’re meant to covertly identify with the killer.
Taken in isolation, some of the horror scenes are pretty good but they’re laid out through the running time in haphazard fashion. There doesn’t seem any effort to structure them to build to bigger and bigger moments. Some of the most frightening stuff comes early, meaning later scenes can’t get an effective response. Not helping on this front are unexplained circumstances and plot holes that start cropping up as we get closer to the big finale. The pounding soundtrack isn’t the most appropriate for a film where most of the action involves sneaking around, either.
As is typical with this kind of stuff, the ending the leaves the door open for a sequel. Let’s hope not, as the first installment delivers gruesomeness but not a whole lot else.