Time: 115 Minutes
Jin Muraki as Masafumi Kobayashi
Marika Matsumoto as Herself
Satoru Jitsunashi as Mitsuo Hori
Rio Kanno as Kana Yano
Tomono Kuga as Junko Ishii
Director: Kōji Shiraishi
A prominent paranormal journalist named Kobayashi (Jim Muraki) goes missing shortly after completing a documentary. What begins as an investigation into strange noises soon evolves into the chilling mystery of a demonic entity named Kagutaba.
I had heard of Noroi: The Curse as an underrated horror movie. All I knew about it was that it was a found footage horror movie from Japan, and apparently it was quite scary. I had been meaning to watch it for a while, and having finally seen it I can say that while it has some issues it was quite good, and definitely should receive more attention.
Interestingly, Noroi: The Curse aims to be both a found footage movie and a documentary style movie. Though some of the way it is edited doesn’t quite make sense in the context of the story, I went along with it. I’ll admit that for the first hour I wasn’t quite into the story. It does try to approach the story as a documentary which I understand, but I just wasn’t quite as invested as I’d like to be. The first hour is dense with a lot of information to keep track of, with elements introduced like psychic variety shows, many characters introduced, rituals, backstory, there’s a lot happening. It’s a lot but I admire the commitment to it. It is also a slow paced movie for sure, but even at its slowest I was still paying attention to the plot. It’s in the second half where it picked up for me. That’s when the footage moves beyond being used for a documentary and moves more into the people recording encountering spooky things themselves. There were some effective and creepy moments, some of them were effective, especially in the latter sections of the movie. While I won’t go into too much depth with the plot, what I can say is that the payoff at the end is worth it for sure.
The acting is all around pretty good, it’s not the main focus of the movie but the performances are sincere. Whenever characters are reacting to creepy situations or information, their reactions feel genuine.
It’s directed by Koji Shiraishi, and for the most part I think he did a good job. One of the strengths of found footage horror is that it often feels very real. That is definitely the case in this movie, especially in the second half and the last third of the movie. As previously mentioned, it does try to seem like a documentary with the way its edited, however some of the attempts don’t always work out so well. The most annoying parts were the subtitles and title cards at the start of some scenes, which give information of what’s happening, particularly because it doesn’t always commit to having a voice over, nor does it make an attempt to explain what’s happening within the video footage presented. As for the scares, sometimes it worked, and at other times it didn’t work so well. There’s one moment when the camera freaks out during an intense moment, glitches happen and we can see a creepy image through the glitches. After this moment however, the cameraman shows the footage to Kobayashi (the paranormal researcher in the movie), and we also get to see that glitched footage in slow motion, and that felt kind of pointless since we already saw that and it’s not going to make it any scarier. There are also some moments where some visual effects were added into the movie, and they are pretty bad and silly, and can take away from some of the moments. Thankfully they weren’t in the movie a lot.
Noroi: The Curse does have some problems, some of it is to do with the direction and its approach as a mockumentary style film, and I wasn’t fully on board until roughly the second half of the movie. However I still think it’s worth watching, and it’s definitely an underrated movie. It is a found footage movie, but if you at least like any of the movies in that genre, find a way to seek it out, because it deserves much more attention.