17 October 2014

PUZZLE [/Slash Filmfestival 2014]


Original Title:

Japan, 2014
Director: Eisuke Naitô


The trailer looked amazing and everything I heard about "Puzzle" beforehand made me go very excited for it: there's a group of sunflower-mask-wearing maniacs who take over a school, kill and torture several teachers and pupils with slightly "Saw"-like death traps and other violent methods. What seems like an act of terror is actually something more complex, involving revenge, puzzle games and more.

Sounds rad, right? Unfortunately, the Eisuke-Naitô-directed ("The Crone") adaptation of Yusuke Yamada's novel of the same name ended up as crude and dissatisfactory low-budget mess that tries too hard to shock and entertain the audience without delivering some serious tension or scariness. The opening madness is ace and delivers plenty of fun with remote-controlled cars, toy torture and super-unexpected kills, but afterwards, it gets more and more dull with every single minute.

The acting is thoroughly good and the playful score is excellent, but it's all just too long and too lenghty. The non-linear narrative is rather pointless and IMO rather badly developed, making "Puzzle" just more and more confusing and ultimately pretty annoying. Also, the cheap made-for-TV look obviously doesn't help much. Not recommended.

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