August 10, 2012

Noroi: The Curse (2005)

"A documentary filmmaker explores seemingly unrelated paranormal incidents connected by the legend of an ancient demon called the 'kagutaba'."

Before I begin, I just have to point out that the Amazon affiliate link which I've used to display the DVD cover art (to the left) is wrong. "Noroi" is a Japanese horror movie not a Korean one. I know that won't matter to any of you who have the Amazon links blocked with Adblock Plus (which I'm sure is most of you since I never get any money), but I thought I'd point it out anyway.

You aren't going to need to buy "Noroi" if you want to watch it anyway. It's all over YouTube either in its entirety or in parts, and I even have the English subtitled version embedded above for your viewing pleasure. Be aware that it's nearly 2 hours long though so that "pleasure" might just turn into boredom and frustration if you are anything like me.

I settled down to watch this last night after what seems like years of people telling me that I had to see it and "it's the scariest film ever!". Obviously, I didn't have to see it and, to be honest, it wasn't the scariest film ever either.

Having looked up the names of the characters on the IMDb, I can tell you that chubby Jin Muraki played the paranormal investigator named Masafumi Kobayashi, ex-porn star Maria Takagi (who you really do need to do a Google image search on) played herself for all of a minute, and Marika Matsumoto also played herself in a role comparable to Sarah Greene from the BBC's "Ghostwatch" (1992).

I know you've never heard of any of these people and nor have I. We can all cut the pretence out straight away. Thus, the biggest thing that "Noroi" has in its favour is that it looks more like a real found footage movie (until near the end) simply because there are no recognisable faces in it for a Western audience.

Call me a pervert ("Hey, Dr Blood, you're a pervert!"), but I really enjoyed watching little Marika Matsumoto getting possessed by a demon and stuff. She was playing "herself" so I assume she's a known actress or TV personality in Japan. Strangely, considering Japan's internationally famous TV shows, she didn't come across as stupid and self-deprecating unlike how Western presenters always do. I liked her.

The paranormal investigator/journalist Kobayashi was a bit dour and I didn't warm to him at all. I really think he was the least credible character in the whole thing although, obviously, he wasn't more annoying that the crazy, tinfoil-wearing psychic, Mitsuo Hori (Satoru Jitsunashi), who completely overdid the comic relief.

Kobayashi's wife, Keiko (played by Miyoko Hanai), was far too pretty for him, and, without giving too much away, that marriage was destined to not last past the end of the film. There were some very good-looking women in this, for sure, even though most of them only had small roles.

As you will see for yourself, "Noroi" looked just like every other faux found footage movie complete with shakycam moments and bits where you wonder why they were still filming. It was done better than most until it jumped the shark with an almost "Trollhunter" moment 20 minutes before the end. Such silliness meant that it could never recover so, of course, the ending was then ruined by even more excesses.

"Noroi" dragged on far too long, had too many silly moments to be scary, and the whole "demon summoning" thing wasn't very interesting to me. I think it was unnecessarily complicated for something with a core plot which was so basic, and I don't recommend it at all.

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