Movies on the Wall,  Specials

Noroi the Curse: (2005)

In Noroi: The Curse (2005)Koji Shiriashi creates a haunting tale twisting horror conventions in found footage technique. At the heart of this creepy horror is a community’s grudge against forced displacement and relocation. Shimokage was inhabited by a community of magicians who believed in demonic presence, mainly in the presence of Kagutaba. Despite protests, the entire village was demolished in 1978 to make way for Shimokage dam. Now, the community’s priest has failed to contain Kagutaba who is out on rampage in modern-day Japan.
Masufumi Kobayashi’s investigations lead him to the doors of the priest’s possessed daughter – possessed during one of the ritual dances to placate Kagutaba. This is where director Koji Shiriashi is at his best. He weaves an intricate plot with an interlude in the middle – a scene that is within a scene – a film within a film. Paranormal investigator Kobayashi watches the footage of an eerie ritual of Kagutaba being contained.  The priest’s daughter, impersonating Kagutaba, is possessed at the end of the ritual. With slow burn drum beats keeping rhythm, she falls down on stage and shrieks.
But Noroi: The Curse  is not your regular shriek and slasher horror. It was made during the apogee of found footage revolution and it still feels contemporary. With intimate point-of-view camera angles, Shiriashi invites us inside his intricate plotting. He can surprise you with visual metaphors of knots and ropes, with esoteric wise-sayings about ectoplasmic worms.
More Kobayashi investigates, eldritch scenes of howling faces (symbolizing Kagutaba) keep invading the screen. We know the third wall is breaking – an idée fixe in Japanese and South East Asian horror {see Ring (1998) and Shutter (2008)}. Finally, the child with the priest’s daughter, in a sudden flash, shows signs of impersonating Kagutaba. But, by then Kobayashi’s house is in flames, his wife possessed and the investigator himself remains in perpetual hiding. It is this unending nature of curse that stays with you as an after taste.
Noroi: The Curse has an afterlife. Its reputation has grown over the years. An online fan base keeps lamenting that it was not promoted worldwide when it was released.


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