Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You Will Die: Ju-Rei :The Uncanny (2004)

Ju-Rei: The Uncanny (Ju-rei: Gekijô-ban - Kuro-ju-rei) (Japan, 2004)
starring: Chinatsu Wakatsuki, Miku Ueno and Eriko Ichinohe

I took a gander on  Luisito Joaquín González Martín's Slasher blog, the other day and saw something unusual in his slasher list. Other than the fact he doesn't include Candyman, A Night mare on Elm Street and Final Destination movies as a slasher, I also saw this foreign title poking out in the pile like a stick in the sand. While not as strange as his reason for not considering the three aforementioned franchises as a part of the bloody family, Ju-Rei is a mishandled, yet staple J-Horror with an unique build-up that's just as weird.

Told in a reverse chronological order, a set of ten"chapters" and a prologue tell the tale of a single day's haunting that took the life of thirteen individuals by a strange force that takes the form of every person it kills. The thing about it is that each victims are connected to one another, and how and why the ghostly figures are after them gets revealed bit by bit in each chapter.

As I see it, it's more of a cheap-ripoff of Ju-on: The Grudge than a slasher, but the way it's structured does had it's sticky red flavor. Although the "kills" are uber-tame, simple dragging, offscreen or unseen death by heart attacks or shocks, as well as pointing out the tameness of the film thanks to it's minimal budget, the emphasis of stalk coincides with the typical J-horror scares, such as long-haired ghosts, unexplained noises, figures standing on corners, etc. It's creepy as it is at a bargain price, the film's lack of visual effects gave it an uneasy feeling, however it can't really compete much to other J-Horrors as it also lacks strength in solid plotting and originality.We follow one kill to the next in each chapter and when the prologue came, I felt hanging in the edge.

Still, I do love a good effort, and it's rarely boring from where i stand, just lacks that certain conclusive feel to it. Too many plot holes, some very lengthy scenes and very little creative haunts may fail to succeed, but the neat mix of decent scares and tension won my acceptance.

Recommendable? I gander twice on this film to say it is, but J-Horror fans will definitely enjoy this. Or not. I still believe it'll all depend on one's taste. Slasher fans will be disappointed with it's lack of blood and nudity and gore and, well, all the things that makes a slasher film a slasher, but if you open up a little, you might have a decent one night's renting. (In case I'm wrong, go rent a second movie you'll know you will enjoy...)

1 female dragged away, killed
1 female killed offscreen
1 female attacked by ghosts, killed
1 male killed offscreen
1 female killed offscreen
1 female attacked by hairs, killed offscreen
1 boy killed (method not seen)
1 female dragged away by ghost, killed
1 elderly female killed offscreen
1 female killed offscreen
1 male brained to death with ash tray
1 female and 1 girl presumably killed
total: 13

1 comment:

  1. I like this movie, even thou it is a clear imitation of Ju On, I like to order the chapters in my head in chronological order...still dont know how the cursed started, the earlier we now is the high school girl, a student of the teacher, husband of the woman found dead in the theater..something like that :-)