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Film / Ju-Rei

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Might be overselling it, there...

Ju-Rei (called Ju-Rei: The Uncanny on the US DVD, literal translation is "Spirit Curse") is a low-budget Japanese horror movie from director Kôji Shiraishi, better known for his later films Noroi: The Curse and Carved. It's also a completely shameless rip-off of the Ju-on movies. Broken into eleven chapters shown in reverse order, it traces the spread of a ghostly curse through Tokyo. It may be the most obscure J-Horror movie to actually get an American release; it wasn't even released theatrically in its home country.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Anachronic Order: The story is told in a non-chronological reverse order, going backwards, beginning with chapter 10 and ending with chapter 1 and prologue.
  • Back to Front: Uses this trope for its story as a simpler alternative to Ju-on and its Anachronic Order.
  • Creepy Child: There's Chitose as a little ghost girl and Junya after he dies as a little ghost boy, who looks very much like Toshio from Ju-on.
  • Demonic Possession: This seems to be Hitomi's predicament after she faints in cinema and right until she dies. Also, Michiko before she dies.
  • Death of a Child: At least two children are killed by the curse and appear as ghosts afterwards.
  • Excuse Plot: Ju-on has a pretty simple plot dolled up with its Anachronic Order and copious Mind Screw. Ju-Rei hardly even bothers pretending it has any point other than to show a bunch of ghostly suspense sequences strung together.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The final shot of the movie is the shadow man characters have referred to as the portent of death rising into frame and intoning to the viewer "You will die."
  • Ghost Story: A schoolteacher staying afterschool with Junya waiting for his mother decides to pass the time by telling him one of these... right before she shows up as a ghost.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • Ghosts often make the exact same "croaking" sound as Kayako from Ju-on, in addition to creepy echoing whispers and raspy moans.
    • Additionally, in one chapter, Noriko's father staying in a hotel keeps hearing loud banging on the wall from the room next to his... which he finds out is supposed to be empty.
    • The final line of the movie, spoken in a deep, raspy voice: "You will die."
  • Informed Attribute: The curse itself has one. We're told and shown at the beginning that death is foretold by a vision of a shadowy man in a black hood, but after the opening scene people keep dying without his presence, and he isn't even seen again until the final shot.
  • Jump Scare: Though the movie is mostly built around pure suspense, it has a couple of these for good measure.
  • Kill the Cutie: Many examples, but most notably Noriko, Rie and Hitomi.
  • Leave the Camera Running: While the suspense scenes are often effective, they sometimes become this. Particularly egregious is a shot of a scared girl hiding under a blanket which runs uninterrupted for a full minute and 53 seconds, as well as a shot of the scared old woman cowering and whimpering in a hospital bed for much the same amount of time. Probably meant to pad out the runtime, which is barely more than 75 minutes.
  • Light-Flicker Teleportation: Once the camera starts to focus on a flickering stairway light in a mostly-empty school, you KNOW a ghost is going to suddenly appear which is why it's scary waiting for it to happen.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • Many. As usual in stories of this type, multiple times, ghosts can be glimpsed in the background while the characters remain unaware of their presence.
    • When Noriko is leaving her empty, dark house to visit Rie, just as she walks out of frame, the upstairs light comes on, revealing someone's shadow in the window...
  • The Mockbuster: It's essentially a low-budget, Direct to Video version of Ju-on, including the same pasty white ghosts, out-of-order storytelling, viral curse, and even the same "croaking" sound effect. And yes, the original Ju-on was already a cheap DTV movie. This one is even cheaper.
  • Nice Girl: Noriko. Also, Rie and Hitomi before her predicament as well.
  • No Ending:
    • The movie counts down in reverse order from "Chapter 10" to "Chapter 1" and then, finally, has a segment called "Prologue." While the prologue shows an event that was mentioned in a later chapter, it does absolutely nothing to explain the origin of or cause for the curse, which had evidently started even earlier.
    • The final chapter in chronological order has no special significance either, even on a second viewing.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The main thing that sets this film apart from its obvious inspiration. Probably due to budgetary constraints, most of the movie relies on the suspense of waiting for the ghosts to appear as opposed to the outrageous nightmare imagery from Ju-on.
  • Never Found the Body: As in Ju-on and other stories of the type, seems to be the case for most victims. Hitomi being the most notable exception. Also, Inui family.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Given this film's inspiration, most of the ghosts are of this sort.
  • The Virus: Just like in Ju-on, the curse works this way, assimilating the ghosts of its victims into its service.