Fright Fest Review #27: Noroi: The Curse (2005)

Clay Achin'
Clay Achin’

Subgenre:  Found Footage / Foreign

Summary:  A documentary filmmaker investigates a series of paranormal occurrences.

Review:  Noroi is told from the perspective of Masafumi Kobayashi, a journalist obsessed with the supernatural.  His investigations into the paranormal phenomena affecting one family lead him down a dark and complex road, with each realization more disturbing than the last.

Noroi’s plot is surprisingly intricate, and introduces a sizable cast of characters during its 115-minute running time.  Thankfully, this complexity is in service of the story, and it never becomes muddled or confusing.  Just like Kobayashi, we are completely invested in the story of the demon Kagatuba, and we’re more than willing to follow him around Japan in his pursuit of the truth.

Among found footage movies, Noroi does a great job of feeling like a real documentary.  It lacks the too-clean, too-sharp, too-perfectly composed look of most “found footage” movies today.  The awkward cuts, unsteady camera work, and messy dialogue all give Noroi an impressive sense of realism.  Its supernatural moments are an exercise in restraint – their undercurrents of sound and blurry background images instill far more fear than any jump-scare could.

The Verdict:  Noroi is a genuinely creepy ghost story, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to check out the J-Horror genre.  I give it seven-and-a-half demonic documentaries out of ten.

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