Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Film Review: Ring of Curse (2011)

Ring of Curse (aka Gomennasai) (Review)
Japan/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...an atmospheric horror-mystery hybrid."

High school student Hidaka Yuka (Airi Suzuki) begins to suspect Kurohane's (Miyabi Natsuyaki) writing is responsible for her classmates' mysterious deaths...

Ring of Curse follows Yuka; she's the main character and she narrates the story. Kurohane is a lonely and odd student who is bullied constantly by her classmates. Kurohane is also an exemplary writer, much better than Yuka. However, her writing is cursed, and causes the reader to die a horrendous death. Yuka witnesses her friends die one by one, and tracks the curse back to Kurohane. At this point, Kurohane shares her sad life story and her mission. A very creepy and even depressing tale, Ring of Curse leads to good ending; the final sequence is surprisingly scary, although the actual ending may seem a bit gimmicky.

Ring of Curse is a little more than a traditional Japanese horror film. Instead of an overwhelming jump-scare ghost story, Ring of Curse goes a more slow-burn and creepy route. In fact, I don't think there were any traditional jump-scares to be found. Kurohane's story is very sad, and her character has some surprising depth. Unfortunately, her character is the only character that receives any character development. Anyway, Kurohane's character is also very creepy, as are her actions. The film's unique concept -- the writing is a curse -- also helps the film differentiate itself, consequently making the film more engaging; it's like an atmospheric horror-mystery hybrid. The only issues with the film are minor: some unnecessarily slow pacing, and some repetitive plot points.

The acting is good. The role doesn't demand much, but Airi Suzuki is a charismatic leading lady. Miyabi Natsuyaki steals the show with her ominous and spooky death glare. The film is shot well. The music is a standard horror soundtrack; this film is affiliated with a pop group, Buono!, but there isn't any pop music in the film until the credits. Director Mari Asato does well in building a creepy atmosphere and keeping a consistent slow-burn for most of the movie; I think some scenes could've been cut down to make it more efficient, but I may just be nitpicking.

Overall, Ring of Curse is a very good Japanese horror film. It's very creepy and creative, and the story has some surprisingly effective emotional depth. (i.e. It's very sad.) It's not a horror film with a lot of jump-scares or ghostly visuals, though, so it may not be for everyone. Otherwise, I was very entertained, and even impressed.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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