— Masafumi Kobayashi
Masafumi Kobayashi is an investigative journalist who specializes in researching supernatural occurrences. In 2004, after finishing his latest video documentary, a fire broke out in his home. His wife's body was found inside, but Kobayashi himself was declared missing. His video, formerly considered too disturbing to show to the public, is the main segment of the movie. Shown through the video recordings of his personal investigation and clips of television shows, the documentary ties together the threads of a collection of strange events known as The Curse (Noroi, in Japanese).
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This show provides examples of:
- Abandoned Area: The abandoned shrine to Kagutaba.
- Arc Words: Two. Kagutaba and ectoplasmic worms
- The Bad Guy Wins
- Broke Your Arm Attempting to Stop a Demonic Summoning Ritual
- Big Word Shout: "KANAAAAAAAAA!"
- Body and Host: Both Junko Ishii and the boy.
- Character Tics: Hori is always making odd motions with his hands, adjusting his hat, scratching his neck, and just generally fidgeting.
- Creepy Child: The unnamed boy living with Junko Ishii.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Kobayashi's wife sets herself on fire while under Kagutaba's influence, and Hori the psychic is found dead and crammed into a vent.
- Cult Colony: Shimokage Village, before it was flooded by the creation of a dam.
- Don't Go in the Woods: The climax.
- Downer Ending: A foregone conclusion. It's outright stated in the beginning that Kobayashi's wife is dead and that his own body has never been found.
- Driven to Suicide: Midori, a girl who worked with Marika, kills herself alongside six other people, including a young man Kobayashi was investigating. Also, Junko Ishii.
- Eldritch Abomination: Kagutaba. It's never sufficiently explained what the Kagutaba actually is or where it came from, its mere presence (which is felt everywhere) drives people insane and/or to suicide, and if there is any purpose behind Kagutaba's actions, it's utterly incomprehensible - it never seems to be an actively malicious character but more a generally harmful force that cares little to not at all about the people it destroys. The first thing established about Kagutaba is that no one actually knows what it is, and that those who knew ABOUT it described it as a devil doing evil deeds simply to have at least SOME way to comprehend what they were dealing with.
- Final Girl: The only person who isn't missing or dead by the end of the movie is Marika.
- Force Feeding: while we never see it, Kana is forced to eat the aborted fetuses.
- GASP!!: Marika and Kobayashi's wife reacting to finding the bodies of two dead pigeons that seem to have thrown themselves suicidally against the Kobayashis' house.
- There were actually four pigeons that hit the window, however the camera angles given of the outside only distinctly show two.
- Harmful to Minors: Oh boy. Kana was force-fed aborted fetuses off-camera while a little boy was there, seeing everything happen.
- Haunted Heroine: The events surrounding Marika throughout the film.
- Hollywood Exorcism: Averted. The ritual to bind Kagutaba is dignified and not very dramatic.
- Humanoid Abomination: The glimpse of Kagutaba seen on the unedited variety show tape.
- Infant Immortality: Averted for Kana.
- I'm a Humanitarian: A truly horrifying example: Junko Ishii forces the psychic girl Kana to eat aborted fetuses as part of the ritual to summon Kagutaba.
- Mad Oracle: Hori, the "Super Psychic"
- Man on Fire: The fate of Kobayashi's wife.
- The Mentally Disturbed: Junko Ishii, BIG time.
- Miko: Junko Ishii
- Never Found the Body: Kobayashi's fate is stated outright by the movie's premise. Now, think about the implications after watching the movie.
- Nightmare Face: Kagutaba. Everthing about it is so primal and WRONG.
- Also, what happens to Junko Ishii's "son" at the end. And you thought the face in InlandEmpire was fucking scary.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: The strange patterns drawn by Kana and Marika while under Kagutaba's influence.
- Nothing Is Scarier: This film is built on this trope.
- Occult Detective: Kobayashi and his cameraman.
- Present Absence: Kana
- Religious Horror
- Religion of Evil: The villagers, at first. The village started as a community of sorcerers who used Kagutaba for their own means. Then, when Kagutaba stopped listening to them, they became devoted to keeping him bound underground.
- Room Full of Crazy: Hori the "Super Psychic" has a whole HOUSE full of crazy. Everything is covered in tin foil and fliers warning the reader about "ectoplasmic worms".
- Junko's house too (loops and dead pigeons aplenty).
- Screaming Woman: Junko Ishii in the video tape showing the last Kagutaba binding ritual at the village.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Mariko and Miyajima manage to escape the mountain before the confrontation between Hori, Kobayashi and Kagutaba.
- Shrines and Temples: The shrine to Kagutaba.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: What Kogutaba was prior to the erection of the dam.
- Spooky Painting: The scroll depicting how to summon Kagutaba.
- Suicide Pact: Again, Midori and six other people hang themselves from a park swingset.
- Town with a Dark Secret: The village where the binding ritual took place.
- Wave of Babies: Much, MUCH more terrifying than it sounds.
- Waif Prophet: Kana, poor baby.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The final fate of Miyajima, Kobayashi's videographer, is never shown in the film.
- Might qualify as Fridge Brilliance. Notice how the ones who got screwed in the end were Kobayashi and Hori, who were near the ritual site when they saw Kana being surrounded by ectoplasmic fetuses. Marika and Miyajima were escaping the mountain as the whole thing was going down, so it's quite possible that the curse didn't affect them at all.
- Whispering Ghosts: Heard through EVP (electronic voice phenomena). This is how Kobayashi learns Kagutaba's name.
- Zigzag Paper Tassel: With one, erm, odd addition.
"I guess it's too late for all of us."