Off-note: Went to watch Death Note’s spin-off’s L: Change the World today with (El) Panda. Not surprised at how great it turned out to be, considering Hideo Nakata is behind it muahahah. Brilliant, absolutely gratifying. Thank you. I knew I love you (the movie lah) before the reviews… ♥ ♥ ♥
Bought the DVD of this movie ages ago and didn’t bother to watch it until last week. So hold your breath, this is going to be a long one. Or you can skip this if you like. No matter.
Noroi: The Curse is a mockumentary (directed by Koji Shirashi) J-horror about a TV journalist Masafumi Kobayashi who had gone missing at present, leaving behind several video tapes of his unpublished work on his latest (and the last, apparently) paranormal research.
The movie opens with a scene of brief introduction on Kobayashi and takes the audience to a studio room where the tapes are played. This is where it starts: Upon receiving a letter from a woman who complained about hearing strange noises coming from a neighbour’s house, Kobayashi together with his faithful cameraman sets off on an investigation which led them to discover an ancient demonic ritual bind by an evil force of symbolical knots known as ‘Kagutaba’.
Kobayashi then begin to witness disturbing things happening around him, as tragic fate starts to befall on unsuspecting victims one after another. A lady who happens to be the only one survived after partaking in the last ritual has the explanation behind it, hence she was ‘the curse’.
Having filmed on a DV camera, Noroi is most probably likened to Blair Witch Project. But if you actually sat through the near 2-hour length of the movie without having to peeked through the gap of your trembling fingers to watch, you will then agree with me that the similarity pretty much ended there. I believed Noroi has the best plot of all the J-horrors I’ve watched so far, though you can’t possibly go wrong with having someone like Taka Ichise as the producer where his previous works include Ringu, Ju-On, and the recent Westernized version of Thai horror Shutter.
What made this movie to be intelligent as they are, I think, lies in the ability to string together a series of symbolical images in significant manner, one that most audiences can relate to without making much intellectual fuss about it. In Noroi, the video footages shown are cleverly angled to zoom onto objects which are present in other footages as well. Second place goes to the casting. Portrayal of their respective characters are almost surreal, and by using real names to the character adds a little more credibility to the mockumentary. Not forgetting of course, the ‘special’ treatments used on the video to create a realistic feel to the supposed J-horror.
J-horrors are distinctive than the Hollywood counterpart in terms of subtlety used in scare tactics. But with Noroi, things were somewhat different. You won’t find a lady with long flowing black hair standing next to you… sorry, in the movie of course, but the symbolical images that I’m referring to earlier is effective enough to creep you out, even the sight of harmless, domesticated creature like pigeons can actually turned out to be a dark omen. How neat! And the best part of it (or worse, depending), the creepiness it brings sort of ‘grows’ in your mind long after the end credits rolled in. It’s beyond any J-horror I’ve seen.
I can’t tell exactly described how that feels (ecstatic?), but I can tell you what does. Take one scene in the forest for example, which I think is tastefully done, the part where everyone panicking and the cameraman was scurrying along with his DV when he ‘accidentally’ caught something in the video in the midst of chaos (in Blair Witch Project, friends who watched told me they see nothing). Then there was also another scene, where in the middle of filming the images gets somewhat distorted halfway and lo and behold! WTF!!! @#%$^&*&^
Ok, think I’ve spoiled enough surprise in this movie. But I tell you, after watching Noroi, you won’t see Ju-On the same way again. Horror fans, give this a miss, and you’ll regret this, so don’t!