Wednesday, 27 January 2016

noroi - the curse

noroi – the curse is a japanese found footage horror film directed by koji shiraishi and released in 2001, when j-horror was taking over the world. except for some reason it didn’t sit alongside the giants of japanese horror cinema of that time – audition, ju-on, ringu – and only achieved cult status later, possibly due to the renewed popularity of found footage films in the wake of paranormal activity. none of this matters, the only thing you really need to know is that it’s a complex, fascinating piece of work and it’s fucking terrifying.

the film takes the form of a documentary about a documentary. essentially, there’s this paranormal investigator, masafumi kobayashi, and he films all his investigations and releases them on video. the documentary is about his unreleased final investigation. it starts as a series of seemingly unrelated incidents – he talks to a woman who reports hearing strange noises from her neighbours house, then he talks to an actress who collapsed while filming a celebrity ghost hunt, and so on. gradually, over the course of the two hour film, a pattern begins to emerge and kobayashi starts to unravel a mystery with a horrifying secret at its heart.

this is easily one of the best found footage films i’ve seen and fully deserves its cult status. the format works perfectly with tv show clips and news items adding a sense of reality to the world. jin  muraki is great as kobayashi, coming across more serious journalist than crazy paranormal conspiracy theorist, and we need that to invest in what's happening. what really makes it work is the story itself. i don’t want to go into the specifics here, it’s better if you discover it for yourself, but noroi – the curse contains one of the most creepy and disturbing horror stories i’ve seen in a film and certainly ends with the most fucked-up revelation in cinema history. there’s an organic development to the horror in this film; it grows over time as the seemingly disparate incidents begin to merge and a terrifying truth is revealed.

noroi – the curse is everything that makes found footage movies great, using the medium to it's full capacity and telling a super-creepy story at the same time. for the first film in my found footage blogathon i couldn’t have made a better choice.

the found footage blogathon will run from 27th january to 3rd february, in which time i plan to review as many films as possible and maybe throw in a few extras as well. if you'd like to be involved and post your own content, send me a link via twitter with the tag #foundfootageblogathon. i'll retweet your link and will include it in a summary post next week. you can find a full list of the films i'll be reviewing here.

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