Noroi: The Curse
A documentary filmmaker explores seemingly unrelated paranormal incidents connected by the legend of an ancient demon called the "kagutaba."
It’s true that when it’s bad, it’s really bad, but there are a few gems out there that make it all worthwhile. The other day I managed to see what might be the most complex one yet, one that doesn’t sacrifice story for the sake of cheap shocks. This film, my friends, is Noroi the Curse, from director Kôji Shiraishi.
Bearing more resemblance to something like Brian De Palma’s Redacted* than Paranormal Activity, the film is structured as a mockumentary by the fictional paranormal investigator/journalist Masafumi Kobayashi. He and his crew are called in to investigate after a woman complains that she can hear the sound of a baby crying every night from her neighbor’s house. Normally, this wouldn’t be so weird, except her neighbor (the eccentric and hostile Junko Ishii) doesn’t have a baby–only a 6-year-old son.
Kobayashi tries to interview Ishii, who responds in a manner not unlike a certain famous filmmaker did in some real found footage. Not long after this Ishii and her son move away, and the neighbor happily reports that the crying has ceased. Five days later she and her daughter are killed in a car accident. Kobayashi moves on, not seeing a direct relation between the two events. As he investigates some seemingly unrelated stories, however, he discovers some disturbing connections to this original incident, and it all leads back to stories of a demon called the Kagutaba….
Though the film is longer than most of its ilk (with a running time of 115 minutes), I actually found it to be consistently engaging. The viewer is shown many strange incidents from various sources (whether it be a reality TV show, a variety show, stuff filmed by Kobayashi’s crew, or an old 16 mm film), and the fun comes in piecing it all together. Thankfully the mystery itself doesn’t disappoint thanks to the strange mythology developed by the filmmakers. Like the makers of The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, the writers here built up a strong backstory for their found footage, only in this case they actually put it on the screen instead of in a viral marketing campaign! I won’t spoil it here, but it’s gripping stuff, and for the most part it ties everything together beautifully.
Despite my enthusiasm I must admit that Noroi isn’t without flaws. Though more subtle than a Paranormal Activity, it still suffers from a few too many phony looking “subliminal” effects. They are too overdone and drawn out (even as short as they are) to really work, and harm the movie’s feeling of reality. Likewise there is one scare near the end of the film that utilizes some less than convincing CGI. I’m guessing some people will also take issue with the character of Mitsuo Hori, who is admittedly a bit over-the-top in his craziness. He kind of grew on me by the end, but I did question why Kobayashi was always so keen to collaborate with such an unstable and dangerous person, even if he is a psychic!
Actually, I find his rants about pigeons and ectoplasmic worms to be kind of cute in a please-don't-hurt-me sort of way.
This movie full of creep, and amazing horror sense, we recommend the horror lover to must watch. but it's only available in the japanese version. But anyone can watch by downloading the subtitles of this movie if you know English.