Yuka had the most horrifying experience of her life a year ago. Her high school classmate, Kurohane, is blessed with unparalleled literary talent, but she is bullied because of her eerie ... See full summary »
Dr. Hattori and her husband watch footage of brain surgery experiments with Manchurian, Russian and Japanese guinea pigs that had been found in the basement of a wrecked hospital. Out of ... See full summary »
In Japan, the daycare teacher Kyoko Okudera is convinced by her colleague and friend Madoka to visit her boyfriend Naoto Sakurai in the restaurant where he works instead of studying as ... See full summary »
A group of high school friends reunite after two years when one of their fathers' committed suicide. They all spend the night at their friend's place. When darkness falls, strange things ... See full summary »
Suffering from writer's block and some curious ailments, Reiko (Nakatani Miki) moves to a countryside villa at her editor's (Nishijima Hidetoshi) beckoning to quietly work on her next novel... See full synopsis »
Mak served in the war during the beginning of the Rattanakosin Dynasty. At war he became friends with Ter, Puak, Shin, and Aey, whose lives he saved. Once the war was over, Mak invited his ... See full summary »
Chronically unoriginal and derivative Japanese horror could practically be guilty of plagiarism.
Ju-Rei (The Uncanny) is yet another in the conveyor belt of Oriental horror movies which lept on the Ring bandwagon of 1998. The vast majority of them have benefited from the fact that Eastern horror is still a relative unknown here in the west, and the tricks used in Asian film-making are still fairly new here too.
Indeed, fairly similar films like Dark Water and The Grudge have been blessed by the fact that they're still something of a novelty in this part of the word, because otherwise we'd see right through them much in the same way that teen slasher after teen slasher from Hollywood gets tiresome and repetitive.
However, there comes a time when even *novelty* becomes contrived, and Ju-Rei is a superb illustration of this.
The Uncanny (God knows what the name means) is a ghost story (Surprise surprise) where a shadowy female figure (*feigned shock*) appears and people die as a result (Where have we seen *that* before?).
So, no prizes for a fresh and interesting story line. However, the one direction the plot has taken to elevate it above its peers is the story's told in reverse. We start at Chapter 10, then work our way back to 1. Sure, Memento did this already, but nonetheless it's new for Japanese horror, to my knowledge.
The direction, though, lets this film down big time. Sure, the plot and narrative are totally unoriginal, but this could be countered by decent direction. Unfortunately, the mechanics of the movie are simply dire. Too often scenes' camera work is forcing the viewer, as opposed to the viewer feeling free. Good direction is subtle and when a scare or chill is threatening, it doesn't force you into submission. This should be a voluntary response, meaning you'll get more out of the upcoming shock. Add to this the number of times where something is laboured at a snail's pace, or a camera shot is held for a stupidly long period of time and you begin to get the feeling this one's being directed by an amateur.
Indeed, the budget appears to be substantially low, with some pretty poor attempts at acting compounding it. Being an English speaker I cannot obviously detect the subtlety of Japanese, but I can tell that the portrayals are universally struggled and decidedly unnatural.
As for the shocks, well there is one moment which I actually failed to see coming, so I got a little kick out of it, but otherwise this movie was a blatant copy of everything else which has been before.
This was a Japanese horror by the numbers.
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