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Review Noroi a.k.a. Noroi The Curse (2005) : Creepy but not scary!

genre: horror, mystery, thriller

A documentary filmmaker explores seemingly unrelated paranormal incidents. We are witness to this filmmaker and his investigation into the strange events that have occurred. While this is obviously a film, it easily could have been a real documentary where you, the viewer, will see what he and his cameraman will see. So when the approaches people, they in general will be nice and polite to him. I was surprised how helpful some people were. There are occasions where they easily could have declined. It's also very nice that you don't get sound cues. Things just happen, and most of the time events are quite low-key. Until you get confronted with some truths.

I have to say that from the second the investigation starts, I was on board. Until the very end. It does take a while for the horror elements to ramp up, but they are very present. One thing you will have to realize is that what you the viewer sees is the way a documentary would be shown on TV. So there isn't a single time when you get to see the main character have a real dialogue between him and his camera man. It's something at adds a realistic tension. But at the same time, not experiencing what the main character is going through detracts a little. It's a little too objective. Not once is discussed whether he is a sceptic or whether he is a believer. One could argue that gives this film it's strength. However, I do believe that people in real life definitely would freak out far more. I also think that the filmmaker makes a few mistakes. At one point, it becomes very clear that he needs to follow up on a discovery he has done. Instead of being on it like one should, he moves on to other leads. Of course, pretty pragmatic, still, a little foolish since it is quite obvious that the previous lead is an important one. 

Gradually, things and events become weirder and creepier. I was waiting and waiting for the conclusion to hit me in my face, and it never did. What was supposed to scare the hell out of me was very tame. Because, for whatever reason, they still want you to be able to explain the "supernatural" elements as scientific facts. And that would have worked had they gone over the top just a little. The finale was begging for some true horror, and in that regard it fails to bring you a satisfying conclusion to the slow but compelling investigation. A real shame if you ask me!

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