Thursday, October 23, 2014

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

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

"...the best film in the series since the original..."

The grudge of a murdered family is experienced by anyone who crosses it, including family friend Akane Kashiwagi (Akina Minami) and a delivery boy (Hiroki Suzuki)...

Ju-on: White Ghost requires some effort to fully digest. The story, which is really fairly simple, is a bit complicated due to the non-chronological storytelling. On one hand, well, it's complicated. On the other hand, it keeps you engaged. The story itself follows a set of characters as they experience the haunting of a family massacre caused by Atsushi, who becomes possessed after he moves into a new home with his family. It's grizzly and it enters some taboo territory, but it's all-around creepy. The ending is good, too.

Ju-on: White Ghost is an excellent entry into the Ju-on series of films. The story is reminiscent of the original films, which also utilize non-chronological storytelling. However, this film is a bit more violent and a bit more disturbing due to some themes, such as sexual abuse. White Ghost excels most in its use of a variety of horror methods. This film utilizes everything I love about horror – everything!

It builds up some nail-biting suspense and tension. It uses creepy, spine-tingling visuals. (I don't care what anyone says, the grandma with the basketball is chilling!) It also features some spooky audio; in this case, it's not as memorable as the meowing and croaking of the original, but good, nonetheless. And, if you're a fan of jump-scares, Ju-on: White Ghost has a barrage of jolters. I was even more impressed when I considered the micro-budget of the film – it utilizes great practical skills to scare.

The acting is all-around good. It can be melodramatic here and there, but it wasn't bad – not bad, at all. However, it is difficult to gauge the cast's range due to the short screen time of each actor. The film is otherwise a low-budget horror film. It makes do with what it has, though. There's some decent cinematography and some decent camerawork, too. The makeup effects are decent; I personally enjoyed it immensely, but I can see it looks a bit amateurish. Director Ryuta Miyake masterfully crafts some horrifying moments, even more so impressively when you consider the budget limitations; the storytelling could use some work, but it is otherwise a frightening and exciting horror film thanks to Miyake's direction.

Overall, Ju-on: White Ghost is a great Japanese horror film. It blends a great variety of horror to create a consistently scary and entertaining film. The storytelling requires some effort from the audience, but the story itself is chilling and disturbing. Ju-on: White Ghost is the best film in the series since the original – strongly recommended.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, including some gore and implied sexual abuse.

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