Monday, April 13, 2009

Kourei (2000; Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a big name in the J-horror circle, however he is a man I have more or less ignored for mostly monetary reasons. The only other work I have seen of his before this one was his very popular Kairo. There is one thing that becomes apparent from watching either of the previously stated pieces, and that is that Kurosawa has quite an eye for camera.

A psychic is out to prove herself as real with the help of a college student. She is given the opportunity to when a young girl gets kidnapped off of a playground, but things go wrong, shit goes down, etc...

I have a problem with movies dealing with psychics. It's not so much that they are bad plot devices, it's just that I get so sick of them because I know "psychics" in the real world are just people robbing others of their money. I can't help myself from getting annoyed whenever I see one on film, even if they are "real" in terms of the story. It would be unfair for me to dock this film for that however, but I just had to get it out there.

As I stated earlier in the introduction, Kurosawa's mastery of the camera is very much apparent. He uses everything from slow crawls, first person perspectives, and room sweeps all to their fullest potential. He tries his hardest to get everything he can from his chilling sequences. Speaking of which...

Kurosawa also presents his chills and scares very effectively. He is not shy in showing you what the characters see, and he tries his hardest with the use of a limited score and effective camera to make every second of it count. He also doesn't use cheap shots to try and scare you; he uses an effectively built up atmosphere to slowly build up a lingering sense of paranoia.

So is there anything wrong with it? While Kurosawa does build the atmosphere he wants, the films slow pace sometimes works against it instead of for it. There is also a reference to Dopplegangers that is played with but sort of just becomes neglected. While this may look like your average J-horror film on the outside, it plays very much different from your Ju-on's and your One Missed Calls. This is very much a low key, brooding piece meant to haunt you long after it is over. So while it's pacing halters it slightly, Kurosawa achieves what he set out for in the end, giving this film a score of...

Score: 4/5

Notes: Long. Black. Hair. Again.

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