Film / Noroi: The Curse
"I want the truth. No matter how terrifying, I want the truth."
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.
  • Adult Fear: Never mind your child getting kidnapped. Your child getting kidnapped and force fed aborted fetuses to appease the whim of some deranged lady for her religion...that takes the cake.
  • Always Save the Girl: The last third of the movie is spurned on by the disappearance of Kana and an attempt to find her, as well as the need to stop Marika's curse by performing a ritual.
  • Arc Words: Two. Kagutaba and ectoplasmic worms
  • The Bad Guy Wins
  • 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.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: In the finale, Hori rants that Kagutaba had survived, and its within the boy. He's absolutely right.
  • 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.
  • Curse: People who have an inkling of, or have pissed off, the malevolent entity Kagutaba die. Hell, the mother and child that tipped off Kobayashi to the events of the film die under very suspicious circumstances.
  • 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.
  • Framing Device: The film is presented as a documentary on the disappearance of Kobayashi. That's why the film is interspersed with found footage, variety show segments, and still frames/images as necessary.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hope Spot: Kobayashi did save a child from Junko and manage to adopt him and take him to their home, leading to a possible Bittersweet Ending. Only for Kagutaba to come back.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: The kanji for Kagutaba is composed of characters which mean "disaster," "tool" and "spirit."
  • 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. It serves up long scenes with eeriness and tension. It make the payoff all the more terrifying when creepy things are actually shown.
  • 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 Kagutaba 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.
  • The Summation: Kobayashi surmised the plot near the end of the film. While he hits the nail on the head that the whole ploy was a summoning ritual for Kagutaba, he missed the fact that the vessel which Kagutaba now inhabits is that of the unnamed boy he took home with him.
  • Tinfoil Hat: Hori wears a hat and a coat of tinfoil, as well as covering his house in tinfoil - to protect him from ectoplasmic worms.
  • 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.
  • Whispering Ghosts: Heard through EVP (electronic voice phenomena). This is how Kobayashi learns Kagutaba's name.
  • You Are Too Late: Hori senses Kana in the mountains, and he and Kobayashi go there...turns out its just her spirit that's dwelling there, being devoured by ectoplasmic worms.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Averted. For a few short seconds you can see Kagutaba in its horrific glory.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel: With one, erm, odd addition.

"I guess it's too late for all of us."