Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Noroi: The Curse

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Noroi:  The Curse - 5 out of 5

I'm a jaded, jaded man and finding horror films that scare me is more difficult than tracing down a unicorn being ridden by a leprechaun.  In my opinion, horror films hit their peak in the 70s.  They figured out the formula and made films that weren't a collection of cheap scares to make you jump out of your seat like what passes for scary movies now.  They were a collection of psychologically terrifying films that made your heart race and your palms sweat.  Sure some sucked and ended up become the godfathers of the watered down, lack of imagination we see in the PG-13 affairs we get now but films like The Omen, Rosemary's Baby, Jaws, Dawn of the Dead, Halloween, and The Exorcist were true testaments to what it meant to instill fear in the viewer.  I still have trouble sleeping after watching The Exorcist.

However, in the last 30 years, horror films have hit a plateau of mediocrity.  Horror films no longer have balls they used to and most of them are geared toward tweens and teenagers who jump over the same stories that are regurgitated over and over again.  These processed and boiled down pieces of garbage have contributed to the overall "dumbing down" of America (the other contributing factors are reality shows and Gogurt--yogurt is NOT meant to be eaten on the go!).  If these kids watched even a second of The Omen, they would wet their pants, vomit in terror and pass out into a coma for a week--maybe not even in that order.  Horror films have become a laughing stock of what they use to be and have fallen even deeper into the well of embarrassment when the "found footage" craze hit.

Unlike American "found footage" films, this movie actually makes use of the subtle
and background for scares.

Every year we are forced to endure another painfully boring, slow moving and entirely scare-less franchise entitled Paranormal Activity.  But leave it to the Japanese to take the "found footage" craze and actually make it worth watching.  They made cars better, they made electronics better and have made video games more creative, why not take the staple of "found footage" and actually do what Hollywood can't with it:  Make it scary.  In 2005, they did it with Noroi:  The Curse.

After a series of seemingly unrelated paranormal-based events occur, a documentary filmmaker starts to investigate and discovers a curse is running rampant by an ancient demon called "kagutaba."  What follows is something that doesn't insult your intelligence and be a collection of poorly put together "jump" sequences like the PA films do and, more so, it isn't just a gimmick like 100% of all Hollywood "found footage" films.  This movie is truly terrifying.

Typical Fox News viewer.

Have you ever noticed in American "found footage" films the small edits that appear within a single scene that supposedly only has one camera?  They're not there often but they're there or how about how the American ones that have actors who are unconvincing and their characters don't react realistically when it comes to filming what is going on around them?  Well, this one actually has good acting and has real reasons and logic to support what you are seeing unfold on the screen.

The film, to more accurately describe it, is a film WITHIN a film.  Noroi:  The Curse is the title but is the project the documentary filmmaker is working on.  At the beginning of the movie, the narrator explains the movie was filmed, edited and finished but never released...until now (hey, that explains why there is mood-music and edits!)  The fact that the work is suppose to be a act of journalism also explains why the cameraman is making sure he's documenting everything.  He's not just some random dude like those shown in Hollywood's "found footage" films who, for some reason, decides that filming every second of the fact that he may or may not have heard some strange noises in his house that conveniently escalate once the camera is rolling is a good idea.  The cameraman has a job to do, he's not that random dude who is on the verge of being killed but wants to make sure his camcorder is with him at all times.  This fact alone, and the fact that the acting in this movie is better than ALL "found footage" films made in the Great 50, makes Noroi:  The Curse quite possibly the greatest horror film I've watched that's been made since the 70s.

Wait a that dude in the background storing nuts in his cheek like a chipmunk?

Finally, Noroi:  The Curse doesn't disrespect its audience the way Hollywood does.  The filmmakers behind this work of art understand that true gut-wrenching terror doesn't lie within slow walking scenes towards a sound that culminates in a cheap scare of a friend/loved one/significant other suddenly popping out of a window.  The filmmakers understands what truly makes people afraid and exploits it.  Darkness, the unknown, children (yes, kids are scary) all these elements are mixed together perfectly with a story that is compelling as it unfolds and comes at you at a pace that builds so perfectly that by the time the final fifteen minutes of the movie arrives, your jaw is clenched shut, your stomach is in knots and your heart is on the verge of beating out of your chest with pure, uncompromising terror.

Seriously, why are kids so scary?!?

A buddy of mine had recommended this one to me, and a list of others that will appear on this blog, when I complained about how bad "found footage" films are.  After watching it--mistakenly at night and I couldn't get to sleep, long time since that happened--I wanted to fall to my knees, kiss his hand and pledge my eternal service to him as his loyal bodyguard for recommending me such a well made and truly terrifying film.  If you're like me and tired of the bland, flavorless and scare-less horror films that fill our market, I highly suggest you track this one down.


  1. Watched this a few days ago. I completely agree, I am still terrified. Great movie!

  2. Maybe it was all the build-up beforehand, but other than a few scares here and there, it wasn't nearly as scary as I was expecting...

  3. It was a really good movie but honestly except for a few scenes towards the end it wasn't very scary for me, just a bit creepy. Still loved it.

  4. I agree with you. The movie was great. However the first Paranormal Activity movie was very scary too. Other Paranormal Activity movies were bad, but the first one was different.

    1. I almost fell asleep during the first Paranormal Activity.


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