I had high hopes for this interesting looking horror flick from the same Japanese team that gave us the now banned and quite brilliant Grotesque. Death Tube, or X-Game as it’s otherwise known, plays on the usual formulas of films like Saw, Cube and even My Little Eye, and makes, in the nicest way possible, a bit of a mockery of them. Whether Death Tube was actually supposed to be funny is any body’s guess, but it is too daft to be taken seriously. The plot is very simple, a pirate internet site called Death Tube broadcasts every few months for a short period of time, and in that time you get to see a small number of victims mentally tortured by being trapped in a room and having to figure how to get out. The cover and trailer promises violence, but sadly it is lacking in that department. In fact, it is quite shocking how little violence is actually in this film, but then, it’s mostly about people trying to figure a way out rather than full on torture. It’s bullying, but on an emotional scale rather than physical and it’s generally the victims who end up hurting themselves through desperation.
Forgive me with names, but I don’t recall any of the cast actually being given any, and checking IMDB it would seem they haven’t been blessed with character names there either. So, for that reason, I shall call the main character “young man” as the characters aren’t really made too much of a fuss of. To know the plot, all you need to really know is that Young Man is told about the site, watches it, passes out (never really explained why) and wakes up in a room just like those on the internet site. It would seem this has happened to a small group of “participants” and they must find a way out before time runs out and they are killed off. To be honest, it’s a great idea, and the grainy video makes the whole set up look authentic and, for the moment, believable.
Things go horribly wrong with the introduction of the bad guy. It would seem the people in charge of the operation have decided to dress up like giant yellow teddy bears, brandishing guns they look silly. Seeing clips and pictures I thought this idea may have worked, it’s often the things that you find most comforting which, when flipped on its head, can be the most disturbing, and an evil teddy should have worked. Sadly, it doesn’t, and the less screen time this so-called evil bastard gets, the better. It’s not so much how it looks, it’s how it talks. Using a voice disguiser, the blasted things shouts and bellows orders, laughs and almost sings at it’s victims but the noise is so bad, so incredibly annoying you just want to shoot the damn thing yourself! It doesn’t work, and if this farce was the whole intention of the makers, then it’s a pretty cheap gag that made me feel cheated and bored. If it’s a mistake, and the stupid teddy was actually supposed to be scary, then this is one of the biggest failures I have witnessed in horror for some time.
As I said, coming from the clearly sick individuals that made Grotesque, I had high hopes. My hopes have been shattered by a great big stupid looking yellow teddy, and more of them turn up as the film goes on, and they continue to use that stupid voice, and even do stupid things. One cringe worthy scene see’s them crawl out of the room in almost slow motion and it really does look shameful. The script soon loses all impact as well. Learning about the site and the mystery is all interesting to start, but once the mystery has been revealed and it’s left up to the cast to figure a way out, the scripting becomes slow, boring and rather pointless. Added to this the fact it’s filmed in real-time once in the game, it doesn’t offer up much to keep you interested. So, good start, followed by a cheap bad guy that makes you laugh more than scares you, bad scripting and generally bad acting all makes this film a bit of a mess and it has no idea if it wants to be a horror, a comedy, a serious film or a piss take and it ends up being neither and at almost two hours of running time, it will more than likely irritate you as much as it irritated me. Shame