“My god! The pigeons!”
Noroi was the first movie I ever reviewed for Subtitled Hell & one that despite rewriting twice I have never been happy with. For such a classic & important movie this just wouldn’t do. So I sat down & re-watched Noroi again (always a joy) & will now attempt with this brand new review to do this movie justice.
Noroi is an incredibly complex movie & is the story of Masafumi Kobayashi’s latest & last investigation. Kobayashi is a paranormal investigative journalist, who as the film starts has published numerous books & videos of his investigations. A voiceover narration informs us that Kobayashi’s house has burnt down, his wife’s burnt remains were found in the house but Kobayashi himself is missing. We are then presented with his last work, an investigation titled Noroi (the curse) The film starts as Kobayashi investigates a woman called Junko Ishii, who lives in an apartment with her son. One of her neighbours has complained about hearing babies crying from Ishii’s apartment. Kobayashi calls on Ishii after interviewing the neighbours & Ishii reacts aggressively, refusing to speak to Kobayashi. Ishii soon moves out & her neighbours die in a freak road accident. The movie then introduces us to several characters, all seemingly unrelated including Kana a young girl who has strong psychic powers & goes missing. Miarika, a TV personality with heightened ESP & Hori an eccentric physic who sees visions of what he calls ectoplasmic worms. As the movie progresses the separate story arcs of these characters converge, pointing to the legend of a demon called Kagutaba.
With out a doubt Noroi is the most genuinely creepy & downright unsettlingly scary movie ever made. Forget Ringu or Ju-on, they pale when placed next to Noroi. I have seen this movie several times now & even knowing the story it still has the power to creep under my skin & unsettle. The movie plays out like a real documentary, utilising footage from “other tv shows” & this works perfectly, giving the whole film an unparralleled feeling of realism. You (the audience) buy into the idea you are watching a real documentary & for that reason you buy into the terror that unfolds. Director Koji Shiraishi has crafted a wonderfully complex movie. Shiriashi takes his time weaving his plot, the movie clocks in at just under two hours & time is taken to develop each plot line until they come together perfectly at the movie’s climax. The cast is superb, each putting in completely believable performances. Satoru Jitsunashi is wonderful as Hori, his performance of a man tortured by visions to the extent that his mind has started to unravel is perfect. But it is Jin Muraki as Kobayashi that really grounds the movie. His portrayal of a man of science & reason drawn into something way beyond what he can rationalise is spot on, making what unfolds even more terrifying. Shiraishi’s movie really gets under your skin. Rather than relying on cheap scares & jumps his movie slowly builds an air of unease & mounting tension. With Noroi he has made a movie that truly unsettles & disturbs. By the time the movie reaches it’s climax the audiences nerves are truly shredded & the film’s conclusion is incredibly strong, visually stunning & downright creepy. I really want to say more but I don’t want to give anything away. Watching Noroi for the first time is an amazing experience. That feeling of being drawn into the unfolding events is like nothing you have ever witnessed on film before.
I could go on for hours about this film, but i will stop here. Noroi demands to be seen. A work of rare power. Quite simply the scariest movie ever made. A must see.