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I saw Paranormal Activity (2007) a couple of days ago and it had close to no effect on me. To work for me, horror needs to be psychological above all else, and about humans "misbehaving" towards other humans. I don't get much affected by ghost stories, or supernatural stuff in general. I like Halloween 1 (1978) for instance for its technical aspects and creativity, but Jason never scared me. Get me Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1, The (1974) however, and i get queasy. Orochi is all about human emotions taken to the extreme, and as such, got to me.
Set in 1950's Japan, a successful and rich woman is one of the top actress alive. Her family is renowned for "producing" the most beautiful women in many generations. However, the family is actually cursed: when all the females turn 29, they turn into horrible monsters. This time around, there is a plan, to raise another girl as a sister, sharing the same blood type, and see if a blood transfusion can help alleviate the curse.
This movie is very subtle, and centers mostly on sisterly jealousy, and what those 2 women will end up doing to one another. It's "enhanced" by some girl in a deep red coat that seems to be floating around. She is some sort of demon with powers, but not interested in the least bit in interfering with anything, although she interacts with the sisters at multiple times. She is a curious observer that is interested in how humans create their own fate, she's trying to learn something.
The movie is fantastically made. The cinematography and art direction are stunning, with deep lush colors, a mesmerizing mansion filled with rooms and furniture and paintings and other works of art. Every frame is a pleasure to watch, and reminded me a lot of the Korean sensation Tale Of Two Sisters, A (2003).
This is horror the way i like it. There is not a lot of blood, but the atmosphere is so thick and full of all sorts of bad emotions, from jealousy to revenge, and eventually, madness. It's engrossing and visually gorgeous. With Epitaph (2007) having been made recently, maybe there is a trend going on to make gorgeously produced horror films. That would be so cool as visually stunning horror films are kind of something of the past.
See the official site at http://www.orochi-movie.jp/index.html.
- Laurent Hasson