I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to the “found footage” approach to filmmaking, I’m kind of over it. I’ve noticed that when a found footage horror picture is bad, it’s really bad, sinking to the level of pure garbage. However, there are a few treasures, among them, like Kôji Shiraishi’s Noroi: The Curse. And it’s film like that which make the risk we take watching a found footage film worth it.
The feature is set up like a documentary, where we follow journalist turned paranormal investigator Masafumi Kobayashi and his crew. Kobayashi and his team are called in to investigate a woman who complains that she can hear the sound a crying baby every night from her neighbor’s home. That didn’t sound too weird to me. But I was wrong. The neighbor, Ishii, does have a son. But the son is six years old and not a baby.
Kobayashi tries to interview Ishii but her behavior is erratic. Soon after the interview, Ishii moves away and the neighbor who complained about her tells Kobayashi that the crying has stopped. Unfortunately, five days later, the neighbor and her daughter are killed in a horrible car accident. Kobayashi thinks nothing of it and decides to move it. As Kobayashi dives deeper into investigating, he somehow gets guided to a demon called Kagutaba. *Cue the thunder*
Noroi: The Curse may not be for everyone. It does get off to a slow start. It also runs a bit long. However, I found it to be absolutely fascinating. The fun part is watching everything start to fall in place. Noroi: The Curse is filled with mystery and once the unknown is revealed to the viewer, the slow pace is well worth it! The writers did an incredible job building up the backstory, especially since it’s a found footage style film.
There are some flaws with this picture. The majority of them are negligible, though. One noticeable shortcoming (that is an earmark of the ‘found footage’ genre) was how Kobayashi would never put his damn camera down. Never. Even if he or someone else was in danger, he just couldn’t seem to put his camera down. Also, there’s a character who isn’t mentally balanced, like down to the point where he endangers everyone around him, but Kobayashi didn’t really seem to pay much mind to that. However, the crazy one actually became a favorite character of mine.
It blows my mind that this film was released eleven yeas ago in Japan but has managed to stay undiscovered in the US. Overall, Noroi: The Curse is truly a disturbing and epic film. It’s a found footage feature with a purpose and I would very much like to see a follow up. This flick is most certainly worth checking out if you want to see something truly frightening that will likely result in sleepless nights.
The common them of the picture was: “No matter how terrifying, we want the truth.” And that really worked for me. Definitely give this one a look as soon as possible!
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Title: Noroi: The Curse or Noroi
Director: Kôji Shiraishi
Stars: Jin Muraki, Rio Kanno, Tomono Kuga
Studio/ Production Co: Xanadeux
Length: 115 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller