Monday, October 14, 2013

Film Review: Ghost Photos - The Cursed Images (2006)

Ghost Photos: The Cursed Images (Review)
Japan/2006
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"Fans of J-horror and slow-burners will get the most out of it..."

Amidst their parent's separation, Toshiko and her brother find an old camera in their late grandfather's room. Afterward, Toshi's brother sends her an ominous image of a dark forest, which begins to haunt her...

Ghost Photos: The Cursed Images, or simply Ghost Photos, is a slow-burn J-horror film. The story continues to follow Toshi as her mind is clouded by the mysterious image. She experiences some odd supernatural events, and begins to see a ghost in her everyday life. Eventually, she receives more photos on her cell phone that the senders don't remember taking -- each with a ghostly figure looming in the background. This short ghost tale leads to a sad yet satisfying ending -- it really tries to tie up all of its loose ends.

The story is very simple, but the subtitles are poorly translated -- you will really have to translate some of the English subtitles yourself -- which may make the story hard to follow. The horror consists of an ominous atmosphere and some spooky images and ghost scenes. There aren't many traditional jump-scares, and there isn't much suspense going on between set-pieces, though, which really makes this film feel more like a drama than a horror film. The ending is haunting, as expected from a good J-horror film, but the trip to the ending feels uneventful and bloated -- unfortunate, considering the already short runtime.

The acting was great from the cast, some of the dialogue delivery was robotic, but the lead was charismatic and smooth with her delivery. The storytelling is smooth, but the subtitles may be an issue -- I really liked the subtle foreshadowing. The music was ominous and spooky whenever it played. The ghost was well-designed, but underutilized.

Overall, Ghost Photos: The Cursed Images was an okay film. Fans of J-horror and slow-burners will get the most out of it, though. The biggest flaw is the lack of significant events, which made the short runtime feel longer than usual. It's really nothing special, but not terrible, either.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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