Noroi: The Curse (2005)

Kobayashi has such a soft face, and is kind, but he is also dogged and brave. We know from the start things will go badly for him, but we still hope he will be okay. It isn’t clear for some time what Kobayashi is investigating. This mockumentary is made from grainy handheld video and low-resolution clips of Japanese televison shows. It revels in its fragmentary, low-fi nature.

We watch video tapes, and we see video tapes passed around, as we follow Kobayashi, a paranormal investigator, with his cameraman Miyajima, around the scuzzy edges of Tokyo. There are dead pigeons on balconies and broken appliances in gardens. The pictures are often shaky and pixelated, which makes it hard to watch in places on a modern 4K screen. You feel you are watching something you shouldn’t be.

I was turned on to this by the Gaylords of Darkness, who loved this film as much as I do. The screenplay must have been a devil to put together. At the mid-point, the connections between the events become more clear, and the sense of dread increases dramatically. Like the patterns Kagutaba’s victims feel compelled to create, the narratives are weaved out of sight, and come together in the final third. This is an unsafe, unforgettable film.

Letterboxd: Noroi: The Curse (2005), dir. Kôji Shiraishi.

Wikipedia: Noroi: The Curse