Friday, November 10, 2006
Ju-Rei: The Uncanny (2004)
Ju-Rei: The Uncanny is dull, repetitive and amateur. It blatantly rips off good Asian horror films in a horribly uninspired way. It uses the guttural ghost sounds that scared me in Ju-On, the creepy death faces of Ringu, the dark and blurry ghosts of Kairo (Pulse) and the familiar black-haired, pale-faced ghosts of many Asian films. The cramming together of all these commonplace motifs from horror films create a very dull and boring mood, because you know exactly what is coming. The cliche moments are all there -the girl hiding from the ghosts under her blankets, the ghost crawling on all fours to its victim, the elevator scene, etc.
The story itself is told backwards, starting at Chapter 10 and working its way down to Chapter 1. It tells the tale of a dark figure that carries with it a curse - anyone that comes in contact with the black figure will die horribly and be forced to pass on the curse to the next victim. As we move back through the chapters, we see the chain of the curse and how all the characters are connected. At the end of the movie, we are shown how the curse began.
This film is a total waste of time: not at all scary, boring and totally derivative of much better films that have paved the way for Asian horror cinema. Its low-budget look, which usually doesn't bother me too much if the story is good, really DID bug me this time. The shots are way too dark and grainy to fully make out what's happening, and it looks to be cheaply shot on video. The only good this about this movie was the subtlety used in showing the ghosts in the background. Pay attention, because there is usually a spook hanging out in the background of many shots. For example, check out the hallway in the background of the scene with the man going into his hotel room.
This is no way that one device makes up for the absolutely wretched state of this movie. If you are an Asian horror fan, skip this at all costs or you'll be angry just like me, wanting to burn the DVD just to save others from having to watch it. Even if you want to get into Asian horror, skip Ju-Rei. Instead, try feasting your eyes on the wonderful Tale of Two Sisters, Ringu, Ju-On, The Eye, Dark Water or the many other great Asian films (clarification: I am talking about the original films here people, not the horrible U.S. remakes).