The found-footage genre gets a uniquely Japanese twist in Kôji Shiraishi's "Noroi: The Curse" (2005). This film is a potent example of J-Horror's knack for harnessing the power of suggestion and the unseen to create an atmosphere of creeping dread.
"Noroi" focuses on the paranormal investigator Masafumi Kobayashi, who, in his final and most disturbing investigation, explores a series of strange events connected to a curse. The film meticulously documents Kobayashi's descent into a world of ancient curses and vengeful spirits, presented as the last documentary he was working on before his mysterious disappearance.
Shiraishi's direction is brilliantly restrained, using the found-footage style to its full potential. The documentary-style footage feels authentic and lends a disturbingly realistic quality to the supernatural events depicted.
Acting is convincingly naturalistic, with Jin Muraki as Kobayashi, giving a standout performance. His portrayal of a man walking a tightrope between rational investigation and irrational fear anchors the narrative.
The cinematography is in line with the film's found-footage conceit, featuring shaky handheld shots and grainy video that add to the overall sense of realism. The film's sound design is equally impressive, making effective use of silence and unsettling noises to create tension.
"Noroi: The Curse" is an impressive take on the found-footage genre, one that builds suspense and fear not through jump scares, but via a carefully constructed narrative that draws you into its disturbing world. It's a slow-burn, deeply psychological horror that stays with you long after viewing.