Wonderful sci-fi psychological horror by Hideo Nakata, director of Ringu.
Do not judge this film by it's cover, or even it's synopsis.
This film is very well shot and directed with a superb lead performance by Tatsuya Fujiwara (Battle Royale, Death Note, Parade).
If it weren't for films like "Saw" this film would be just as much of a classic as Battle Royale. Both were based on a novel.
This is nothing like the Saw films, there is little to no gore and there is no enemy other than the players in the game themselves. All the players are basically trapped underground, given weapons, and that's it. Each player gets his or her own room which he or she must sleep in during the night, and is ordered to stay in the room during the night hours or will be punished.
What stood out to me the most about this film was the atmosphere and pacing. Hideo Nakata, who I haven't enjoyed a film from in almost a decade really does well here, utilizing plenty of hall shots and calm scenes in between every scene where danger feels present.
In fact, this is what I enjoyed the most about the film, the calm moments where the characters are either alone or talking together trying to figure out what is going on.
The main character played by Tatsuya Fujiwara is likable, smart and played very convincingly. Tatsuya gives his best performance I have seen to date, avoiding acting like any of his characters from other films and keeping you engaged and into the plot.
I really enjoyed this, wanting to watch it again immediately after viewing it. Not so much for it's message, and definitely not for all the characters, but for a select few who really stood out and the overall atmosphere and feelings of isolation the film created. I highly recommend this for fans of films such as Battle Royale, Cube, or even any sci-fi film such as Alien, Sunshine, and The Black Hole, in which characters are forced to coexist in a limited space or set throughout the film.
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