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Anyone familiar with horror films knows that most of them are not scary
at all. Some people enjoy gorefests with subpar story lines and
character development. I personally enjoy horror films that focus on
atmosphere and interesting concepts (e.g., A Tale of Two Sisters,
Kairo, etc.). Whatever the type of horror film one personally likes,
there are only a select few that really scare you. Noroi is one of
This is a documentary-style movie, which means that the entire film is a compilation of video clips that are linked by the legend of a demonic entity named Kagutaba. The premise is that a journalist filmed his own footage by interviewing people associated with the demonic rituals associated with Kagutaba, then compiled footage from other sources that link with his research. What results is a relentlessly chilling experience that feels very real and very disturbing, despite the fact that the story itself is fake.
Some have compared Noroi with The Blair Witch Project, but the only similarity is the documentary style. One obvious difference between the films is that Noroi scares the viewer by linking events to one another using different sources. For example, the journalist records the exterior of a house that he is researching and sees something strange on the porch. Later in the film, a clip from another character's home video introduces that very same strange occurrence. The viewer's memory links the two incidents and chills start running down their spine. Another example involves a television show with a child psychic who answers every single question correctly except for one. In fact, her answer is so wrong that the viewer may wonder what the filmmakers were thinking. Later on, however, that wrong answer turns out to be linked to an extremely disturbing event. This is intelligent film-making indeed.
Another difference between Noroi and Blair Witch is that Noroi provides not one, but two very long finales, the second of which is placed a minute after the credits start to roll and is the single greatest scare scene in the history of horror cinema. I do not say such things lightly. It totally wrecked me in a wonderous way.
Other aspects of film-making are well done. The legend and ritualistic background of Kagutaba are very interesting and most of the actors did a good job. The only over-the-top performance comes from a guy who's supposed to be crazy anyway, so that's expected. The cinematography is intentionally gritty because all of the footage is supposed to represent videos shot on camcorders. Japanese films are not known for their special effects, but the effects used here were awesome. In some cases they create an other-worldly feel (e.g., the static interference or the first finale) but in other cases they are alarmingly realistic (e.g., the second finale).
When all is said and done, Noroi goes down as the scariest film I've ever seen. I would go so far as to say that there is no film in existence that provides such sheer terror from beginning to end like Noroi does. See it now.
Never posted anything here before, but after watching Noroi I just felt
that I had to write down my thoughts about it.
Firstly do not compare this to Blair Witch, this movie deserves far better than that! Simply put, Noroi is (probably) one of the best horror movies I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot!).
I really liked how the movie presents itself not as a standard horror flick, but as a documentary filmed by a reporter (i think?) named Kobayashi and his cameraman. Without spoiling to much about the plot, I can say it that it starts with Kobayashi doing research on a series of seemingly unrelated events, that turns out to be connected to something far more darker and sinister.
While the story might not be that original in itself, what really hooked me with Noroi was the incredibly eerie atmosphere. If you're looking for cheap scares and seat-jumping scenes this movie might not be for you. This movie is all about the mood it presents, with haunting images and a general feeling of foreboding suspense. The documentary style filming just makes it farm more believable.
This is also helped a lot by the acting which is superb, although not perfect for the general part of the movie! Far better than in most other movies in this type of genre.
Well enough ranting from me, I highly recommend Noroi to everyone, it is suspenseful, creepy, well acted and the first movie that has scared me in ages.
Kobayashi is a documentary filmmaker who is fascinated by the
paranormal. Always looking for new cases to document, he and his
cameraman begin investigating a series of freakish events that are
seemingly unrelated. To say that he finds more than he bargained for
would be an understatement.
Rather than Blair Witch, this one reminded me of The Last Broadcast due to all the different footage involved. There's a sinister atmosphere from the start, but the film manages to be quite funny at times through it's use of stupid variety show footage. If you're familiar with these shows, you know how ripe for lampooning they really are. The storyline itself is quite complex, particularly for the hand-held sub-genre. There are multiple strands and a deep mythology to interpret. It also isn't your typical Asian horror with long-haired ghosts, thank goodness. Instead, we get some legitimate scares through mood and build-up. When we see the flier that says a key character has gone missing, it's enough to give you a chill all on it's own thanks to what we've seen beforehand. There are also a few choice scenes that will stay with you. The two scenes that got the biggest reaction out of me both revolved around Marika, a likable actress who gets caught up in the occurrences through an on location TV shoot. The first involves going back to the tapes and catching something in the frame with her, the second has her losing control in Kobayashi's house as pigeons smash into the window.
The mystery at the film's core is intriguing to watch unfold. At 115 minutes, the film is never boring and it doesn't feel too long. Big compliment, as hand-held horror typically works better when it's short and to the point.
I can't praise this film enough. It had a lot of that hand-held,
first-person shaking camera which I love (and some hate, because it
makes them sick), like REC, Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project.
It is a long movie for its kind, but I didn't even notice because the film was so interesting. By just showing the footage from a paranormal reporter's work the movie keeps up the pace, making it a real-time experience for the viewer.
While I would never call this film the "scariest horror ever made", I'd have to say it's certainly one of the best I've seen. The fear factor here is constructed by details in the images, camera glitches, events linked to one another which lend a very mysterious and haunting tone to the movie. The horror is more in what is not shown, but left to our imaginations. The ending is perfect, and be warned that you might have nightmares afterwards. A second viewing is highly recommended, though.
Watch this one alone in the dark, don't expect anything and you'll have fun.
NOROI follows a documentary filmmaker, Masafumi Kobayashi, as he slowly
uncovers something mysterious and evil that's leaving a trail of dead
bodies in its wake. After interviewing a woman who claims to hear loud
baby's cries coming from the house next door (where there is no baby),
Kobayashi heads over to talk to the neighbor. He's greeted with
hostility by the unhinged, disheveled woman (Maria Takagi) who answers
the door (and promptly slams it in his face) and gets a peek at her
6-year-old son through a window. Strangely, both the woman and her son
disappear just days after his visit (leaving behind a pile of dead
pigeons on their back porch), and the woman who first complained about
the noises, as well as her daughter, are both killed in a mysterious
accident not long after that. This piques Kobayashi's interest and he
sets out on a quest to find out what's going on. He soon uncovers that
those with psychic abilities and extra-sensory perception seem to be
tuning into something sinister, unexplainable and possibly even
apocalyptic. Well-known 10-year-old clairvoyant, and TV celebrity, Kana
(Rio Kanno) seems to think we may all be doomed, but she mysteriously
disappears before she can be of much help. Another female
psychic/actress (Marika Matsumoto) becomes involved, as does Mr. Nori,
a mentally unstable kook/psychic who wears a hat and jacket made of
aluminum foil and thinks people are being eaten by what he refers to
"ectoplasmic worms." Clues eventually lead back to the site of a small
village that's now covered by a lake, and the legend of an ancient
demon known as Kagutaba...
Unlike many other hand-held horror flicks, this one depends just as much on the plot as it does reactionary first-person scares. Thankfully there's something of a storyline here, a very interesting and intricate one at that, so it doesn't rely on glimpses of horrific things through spastic camera-work every once in awhile to keep your interest. The way Masafumi travels around following leads in search of the truth - with well placed jolts along the way - reminded me somewhat of THE OMEN in its pacing. The film also doesn't entirely consist of footage shot by the documentarian, but weaves in news reports and television variety shows as if what we're watching is an already completed documentary. That helps to break up some of the monotony usually associated with films shot in this particular style. The performances are good enough not to harm any of the realism of the 'actual' footage either. Overall, it's a well-made horror film, with lots of plot shifts, some suspense and quite a few genuinely creepy moments, that's well worth checking out. My only real gripe is that it could have used a little trimming here and there and seems to go on a bit too long. Otherwise, pretty good stuff.
I, for one, absolutely loved this movie.
It is not a "typical Asian horror" where you would see a gruesome looking ghost (usually a woman) that is going around scaring people. You barely see any ghosts for a majority of the film, but the way this movie keeps you interested in the plot and characters is genius. This is not the movie for you if you're into gore (e.g. Saw, Hostel) or "surprise scares" where stuff pops out at you (Hollywood horror, slasher films), but this movie has an underlying "creepy" factor throughout the entire movie which I loved. Noroi is a progressive and somewhat experimental approach to horror amongst the ridiculous remakes and unoriginal crap being released by Hollywood in today's society.
Please don't let the documentary-style of filming turn you off (why should it?!). It is far superior to the Blair Witch Project because, for one, the acting in Noroi is brilliant and it really makes you feel like you're watching something you're not supposed to be seeing.
Noroi is definitely one of the best horror movies I have ever seen. Only a few films have made it into my Top 5 horror; and this movie holds a solid #1 spot on my list.
OK, so I watched this at 1am with all the lights off and my headphones
on and all alone in my apartment. And I have to say, I damn near soiled
myself towards the end. On many occasions I found myself holding on to
the edge of my sofa. Its that scary. And believe me, I don't have that
reaction while watching a horror movie very often (extremely rarely in
A word of caution though. This one really requires patience. You need to immerse yourself into its world. I watched it another night with my girlfriend and she got bored and gave up about half-way. I can imagine many folks doing the same. This is that kind of a movie, it will either scare you silly or bore you to death. I fall in the former camp.
I won't spoil the story for you (as if you didn't already know bout it from browsing the IMDb boards) but there are a lot of seemingly random events happening on screen which make a lot of sense once the movie reaches its horrific conclusion(s). That last scene still gives me shudders.
So watch this with an open mind and give it a fair chance. Paranormal activity, Rec., BWP, and all the other shaky cam brethren have NOTHING on this one. Noroi has them all licked.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This review contains some small, yet significant, spoilers.
I just finished watching my copy of Noroi...
...and it was GREAT! This might sound cheesy, but several times during the film I forgot it wasn't real XD The acting is convincing, although the acting from Masafumi Kobayashi (playing himself, I think...) seems a bit hokey at times. Marika Matsumoto (Yuka in Takashi Shimizu's Rinne) seemed to change levels of believability throughout the movie: sometimes she's REALLY good, then the next moment she's really cheesy (especially at the end's exorcism and subsequent re-possession.
A character that was ridiculous at first was Mr. Hori, a man covered in tinfoil believing "ectoplasmic worms" are coming to eat everyone. He provides unintentional comic relief at the beginning (acting like the stereotypical alien abduction-type victim) but near the end has some really creepy scenes.
The plot was very interesting and really kept me wondering how everything tied together. There are some things that aren't really explained (like a mass suicide in a Tokyo park and where the reincarnated Kagutaba-boy came from) but everything else turned out fine. The ending has GOT to be one of the most unnerving, if not the scariest, sequences I've ever had the pleasure to witness.
All in all, Noroi is a very fun way to spend 2 hours and the new Hong Kong R3 DVD provides great picture and sound (most importantly the English SUBTITLES- Engrish free!) for a great J-Horror experience. I highly recommend picking it up.
Suffice to say I have never seen a film quite like "Noroi". It is
perhaps THE creepiest film I have ever watched. Note that I say
"creepy", not "scary". There is nothing that will make you jump in this
movie, but there is a level of terror and suspense you'll be
hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Think "The Blair Witch Project",
only stretched out through a longer runtime and a (much) more complex
Much like "The Blair Witch Project", the movie is filmed mostly on camcorders and tries (though not nearly as relentlessly as "The Blair Witch Project") to pass itself off as a true story. Purporting to be last documentary of paranormal investigator Masafumi Kobayashi, the movie's real genius is in its construction. It begins with several, seemingly unrelated plot threads, each one kicked off by some mysterious, creepy event. Kobayashi records a bizarre EVP while investigating a reclusive woman's house, a young girl displays psychic powers on a television program, an actress goes into convulsions while investigating a haunted temple. The tension in the movie is maintained beautifully, rising at a steady pace throughout the entire film as bizarre, seemingly supernatural events begin happening to and around the characters. The real horror in the film comes from seeing how these events are all related, a realization the viewers will reach long before the characters, though the plot threads do eventually converge.
A sense of rising horror pervades this entire movie, and by the time the climax rolls around the tension has built to such a screeching pitch it's almost unbearable. Combined with the fact that the last twenty minutes or so contain some of the most unsettling scenes I have ever seen, and you've got a cinematic punch that will stay with you for days. A couple points come off for one character's delirious overacting (although he does play something of a nutcase), but otherwise this movie's got it all. The only question is...are you ready for it?
Being a great fan of horror, especially Asian horror, I have seen tons
of movies, but this one is outstanding. Why? It does have a plot (which
is unfortunately quite rare among horror movies). The actors did a good
job. It feels like a real documentary film (even if it's not). It does
not get boring for a moment. The director cleverly combines the plot
with the acts of a certain Japanese magic cult (perhaps this cult never
existed, but still, it's believable). It reminded me of the similarly
great movie "Forbidden Siren".
To me the one and only annoying thing about the movie was the character Hori, the psychic, but this is subjective.
I recommend this movie to all fans of quality horror.
9 out of 10.
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