My God! The pigeons!– Mitsuo Hori
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, found footage films aren’t normally my thing, but Noroi: The Curse (2005) was recommended to me as a must-see so I decided to give it a watch. Long story short, I’m glad I did.
Honestly, it’s probably one of the best found footage films I’ve seen. It’s a slow build to be sure – methodical, almost – with a distinct lack of CGI nonsense until some very effective scenes towards the end but a creep factor that’s off the scale from the jump. Seriously, bad signs and evil omens litter the first forty-five minutes like road flares on a dark night, and the tension ramps up with incredible swiftness once Jin Murkai’s Masafumi Kobayashi begins closing in on the truth behind this complex mystery involving ancient curses, dead dogs and kidnapped children. This film has everything you might want – cursed shrines, weird ghosts, a psychic who covers himself in tinfoil…it’s quality, is what I’m saying.
But really, Kobayashi’s investigation is, I think, why I enjoyed the film as much as I did. I’m a big fan of occult detective fiction, and Kobayashi fits the bill to a ‘T’. A paranormal researcher with a bull-headed dedication to uncovering the truth behind unexplainable events, he’s a Carl Kolchak for a new millennium. As he unravels the mystery of Kagutaba, Kobayashi finds himself in the unenviable position of being the only one capable of stopping the evil he’s uncovered.
Unfortunately for Kobayashi, while he’s just as dogged a journalist as Kolchak, he lacks the latter’s cockroach-like ability to walk away from his encounters with the supernatural unscathed – or maybe not, depending on how you parse the film’s climax.
Me, I like to think that Kobayashi is still out there, searching for the truth.
I give it five dead dogs out of five.