As fitting a phrase it may be for a website dealing with such subject matter as this, “done to death” may be the first and foremost reaction some horror aficionados may have toward the found footage sub-genre(up to this point at least). Well, even the darkest and dingiest caverns sometimes have a light at the end of their menacing tunnels, and in this case, that light happens to shine brighter than any beacon I’ve ever had the pleasure of being drawn towards. In the fall of 2005, a Japanese director known as Koji Shiraishi contributed to the world of found footage mockumentaries something very seldom seen. A horror themed faux doc that succeeds on every level of its genre’s definition. What? It can be done? Yes it can be, as I stand before the blogging template, assuring all that I am a witness to this miracle.
Filmed in a distinct style to replicate the workings of a low budget investigative camera crew, you will follow ever so closely as lead investigator, documentarian and paranormal enthusiast, Masafumi Kobayashi, is currently on the field collecting the required interviews and evidence needed for his latest documentary, “The Curse“. Sounds pretty found footage-ish, yes. However, the film hooks you in by adding one small plot point that will drop anchor on your attention span for the rest of the film. The movie opens up to a spoiler which explains to you that by the end of the this film, Kobayashi will be missing, his house is burned down and his wife will be dead. An amazing time is now bestowed upon the viewer as you get to sift through interesting leads from subject interviews, stock footage from old daytime TV shows unintentionally providing further details to the story, and best of all, clips of Kobayashi’s sound specialist as he reviews strange anomalies captured in the background of his on location shoots. You be able to help solve the mystery as the film progresses, as each loose end is slowly resolved up until its very well executed payoff.
Of course, none of this would matter too such a great length if it were not for every aspect being executed in the fashion more films of its kind should be based on. As expected, the footage is represented in a beautiful, worn, “meh” quality, giving that oh so effective Texan slaughterhouse look that just adds to the tingle felt on the nerves. The acting is so seamlessly nonchalant, you will need to Google the film just to make sure it’s not an actual work of non-fiction. The eerie silence you hear in the background of interview segments is wonderfully matched with “instant replay” shots, as the film rewinds to reveal what you just missed in the background of the last scene. Accompanied by one of the most effective use of sounds in these excerpts, viewers watching this film with headphones on will find that every sense in their body has gone numb.
Other than this, the story propelled by a collection of eccentric characters is complex, compelling and interesting even to those who don’t care much for the paranormal in media. The visuals and sound design will have you shocked at how satisfied you are in a never ending sea of mediocre found footage attempts lining the walls at F.Y.E. And most importantly, it all somehow works to the very end, as not a single scene will have you saying, “well, that was fucking lame…”. After all, isn’t this the reaction we’re far too used to having with this genre? If that is not enough to convince you to view this, I don’t know what will do. Well, there is one other reason; Sadly, this movie is currently not available in region 1 format and must be either viewed on an all region or region 3 player(if one is lucky enough to find a copy for sale), viewed online, or purchased on bootleg. Don’t let this stop you from searching though. There’s this one website you may have heard of called Youtube. I’m no super psychic, but you should copy and paste the title into its search bar and see what comes up. I’ll just be waiting for your own review until then.
– The Spork Guy