The Curse (2005 film)
|Directed by||Kôji Shiraishi|
|Produced by||Takashige Ichise|
|Screenplay by||Kôji Shiraishi|
|Editing by||Nobuyuki Takahashi|
|Running time||115 minutes|
The Curse (ノロイ Noroi) is a 2005 Japanese horror, "found footage" film in the form of a documentary. The movie was directed by Kôji Shiraishi, and is unusually long and complex for the J-Horror genre, being just under two hours in length, and having a main cast of well over twenty-five characters.
The film focuses on Masafumi Kobayashi, a paranormal expert who produced a series of books and documentaries on supernatural activity around Japan. The movie then explains that he disappeared in the process of making his most disturbing documentary, The Curse. Kobayashi's house burnt down and his wife Keiko was found dead in the ruins. The aforementioned movie begins to play, shown mostly through the recordings of Kobayashi's cameraman Miyajima.
Kobayashi investigates a woman named Junko Ishii and her unnamed son after her neighbour hears strange noises coming from her house. A couple of weeks later, Kobayashi learns Ishii has moved out, and finds dead pigeons surrounding her house. Ishii's neighbour and her daughter die in a mysterious car crash a week later. Kana Yano, a girl who exhibits psychic powers on a variety television programme, disappears shortly after. Speaking to her parents, Kobayashi learns a man named Mitsuo Hori visited Kana a couple of times. Hori, a strange, psychic man, who wears a tin foil hat and coat. Hori claims Kana was taken by "ectoplasmic worms", drawing an obscure map of a blue-coloured building and asks Kobayashi what "Kagutaba" is. Kobayashi and Miyajima track the blue building to a nearby apartment block where they witness a man, Osawa, taking pigeons into his house. He is later reported to have gone missing.
Actress Marika Matsumoto is haunted by a malevolent spirit whilst filming at a shrine, and unknowingly sleep walks and fashions looped nooses from wires. Kobayashi records her, discovering a deep voice on the tape which says Kagutaba, which Marika identifies as a voice she heard at the shrine. Kobayashi researches on Kagutaba, learning it is a demon, summoned by a religious village called Shimokage, but they imprisoned it underground for disobeying them. An annual ritual was performed to appease Kagutaba, but the village was demolished in 1978 to make way for a dam. Kobayashi is shown the recorded final ritual by an historian, where the daughter of the ritual priest is possessed by Kagutaba. Kobayashi tracks the daughter down, discovering she is Junko Ishii. Kobayashi learns Ishii worked at a nursing school where she helped with illegal abortions and stole the embryos.
Marika visits Kobayashi, revealing her neighbour hanged herself in a playground using similar nooses she made. Six other people died too, including Osawa. Kobayashi speaks with Osawa's neighbour, learning Ishii lived next door and likely influenced him to worship Kagutaba. Marika stays with Kobayashi and Keiko, but exhibits demonic possession and draws pigeons to her, which strike a window and die. Kobayashi asks Marika to come with him to the Shimokage dam to perform the ritual so she can be free of Kagutaba's influence, bringing Hori with them too. The group go to the dam where Kobayashi and Marika perform the ritual on the dam's reservoir, only for Hori to start panicking, claiming to see Kana and runs off, with Kobayashi following. Miyajima drives Marika away but she exhibits demonic possession again. Kobayashi and Hori find a secluded shrine, finding mutilated animals. Hori sees something, Kobayashi briefly switching his camera to night vision and sees Kana covered in undead fetuses before switching the camera back. Marika recovers, and both she and Hori are taken to a hospital.
Kobayashi and Miyajima break into Ishii's house to confront her, but find she has hung herself and her house is dedicated to Kagutaba. They find Kana's body and Ishii's young son alive, Kobayashi adopting the boy. The historian shows Kobayashi a scroll describing how Kagutaba was first summoned, which Ishii tried replicating by feeding stolen embryos to Kana, who she kidnapped and used as a medium. Marika recovers, whilst Hori is placed in a mental institution, only to escape, and then be found dead a day later, crammed into a ventilation shaft.
After Kobayashi's disappearance, Miyajima receives his video camera which shows events that led to the destruction of Kobayashi's house - a crazed Hori attacks Ishii's son claiming he is Kagutaba, and Kobayashi sees through the camera that the boy has blood on his face and Kana's ghost stands in a corner. Keiko suddenly becomes possessed and sets herself alight, whilst Hori leaves with Kagutaba. The film ends noting Kobayashi is still missing.
- Jin Muraki as Masafumi Kobayashi
- Marika Matsumoto as herself
- Rio Kanno as Kana Yano
- Tomono Kuga as Junko Ishii
- Maria Takagi as herself
- Ai Iijima as a TV program guest
The movie received generally high reviews, though some critics were displeased by its unusually long and complicated plotline.[who?] However, this departure from the typical J-Horror template found favor with most critics, particularly those who specialize in the horror genre.[who?]
- Occult (2009), another "found footage" mockumentary by the same director
- Shirome (2010), another "found footage" mockumentary by the same director
- Chō Akunin (2011), another "found footage" mockumentary by the same director
- Bachiatari bouryuku ningen (2011), another "found footage" mockumentary from the same director.
- 3:AM Magazine, "If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It): An Interview with Koji Shiraishi," by David F. Hoenigman (November 29th, 2009 - retrieved on September 23rd, 2011).