Let’s check it out.

Before finally taking the time to watch Noroi: The Curse I was aware of the film’s reputation as being the gold standard for found footage. Coming out two years before the original Paranormal Activity, this one probably deserves more credit for helping push the renaissance of found footage we had for about ten years. The story is interesting and leans heavily on atmosphere and folk settings to create a great story.

Our primary protagonist is Masafumi Kobayashi (Jin Muraki, who does a great job) , an investigator who looks into strange or paranormal occurrences. He seems well-known in the story and we watch as he starts to uncover a large curse that is infecting numerous people.

One of the best aspects of this movie is that it is willing to have many characters come and go and have a large setting. We travel all over Japan, from rural settings, nature, shrines, inner-city, and slums. I love that we were not locked into a single location with just a few characters. This might be one of the most ambitious found-footage films out there.

The aspects of the curse are interesting as well. We learn that it all ties to an ancient entity known as the Kagutaba, which is now seeking vengeance due to its shrine being flooded. How it all ties together and why the people who are being hurt are involved is mostly revealed over time. There are some awesome late-game curveballs in this one that elevate the film nicely. There is some real darkness here, and it works really well.

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of questions. Once you look back on the film you’ll start to see plot holes or other things that just aren’t explained enough. However, while you’re watching the film you won’t notice these because of how compelling the story is. As far as storytelling goes, this is likely the best found-footage film that I have seen.

Where the film falters is that when the scary stuff starts happening we get shaky cam syndrome where we can’t tell what the hell is going on. Further, why the characters would keep holding a camera becomes a hard-to-ignore question at several intervals. You must suspend your disbelief more than normal to fully enjoy this one (or really any found-footage).

A scary movie with almost no blood and no jump scares. This one relies entirely on the story to create a sense of dread and sadness. It isn’t perfect, but it is worth watching even if you’re not usually into found-footage.

Highly recommended.

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