Friday, October 24, 2014

Film Review: Ju-on: Black Ghost (2009)

Ju-on: Black Ghost (Review)
Japan/2009
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Well Go USA)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...blends several types of horror to create a consistent and versatile horror experience."

After she faints at school, a young girl, Fukie discovers she has cyst in her body, which is actually her unborn twin.

Much like the rest of this film series, Ju-on: Black Ghost is told in non-chronological order. Consequently, it will take some effort from the audience to fully understand the film; it is engaging storytelling, but it can also be unnecessarily convoluted. Also like the rest of this film series, Ju-on: Black Ghost follows a large set of characters as they experience this grudge. The grudged sibling in Ju-on: Black Ghost torments Fukie and her family, as well as anyone who crosses its path, including a young nurse named Yuko and her neighbor. The story is creepy and creative, and it leads to a great ending.

Ju-on: Black Ghost is the most distinct film in the series. It still centers around a grudge, but it feels more like a possession film this time around, with the Ju-on signature horror. And, I like that about the film РI like it a lot. It helps the film differentiate itself while still serving as an excellent complimentary piece to White Ghost, or any other film in the series. The possession elements aren't clich̩, either, it serves more as a vessel to deliver some fresh horror to the series.

And, Ju-on: Black Ghost is scary film. It blends several types of horror to create a consistent and versatile horror experience. The ghostly visuals are nightmarish – the piercing eyes in the darkness are chilling. In fact, there seem to be plenty of eye visuals in this film – I like them, a lot of creepy stares. The eerie croaking sound has a strong and disturbing presence, too. There are quite a few jump-scares here, as well, but not nearly as many as its predecessors. I don't necessarily mind, considering it does introduce some possession-like horror, but it is worth noting.

The acting is mostly good. I particularly love the death-stares some of the cast deliver, like Hana Matsumoto and Yuno Nakazono. It is a little melodramatic, though, especially some of the screaming. Otherwise, this is also a low-budget horror film. It does well in using practical camerawork, sound, and visuals to create its horror – I'm impressed. The special effects are good; some seem out of place, but I didn't mind, I was more frightened than bothered. Writer and director Mari Asato, who also helms Ring of Curse, does very well in crafting some terrifying moments and differentiating herself from the rest of the series – without alienating any fans; the film does suffer from some confusing storytelling and plot points, but Mari Asato's direction is as refreshing as ever – she's one of my favorite modern Japanese horror directors, and I look forward to seeing more from her.

Overall, Ju-on: Black Ghost is a very good Japanese horror film. It's a little different from the other films in the series, but it still manages to scare and entertain. I think Ju-on: White Ghost had more of an impact and was a bit more frightening, but Black Ghost is an excellent complimentary piece; in other words, watch them both. Strongly recommended for fans of horror and Ju-on.

Last year during our 31 Days of Halloween special, I reviewed Ju-on and Ju-on 2, now I give you Ju-on: White Ghost and Black Ghost. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed watching and writing.

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

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