Ju-Rei: The Uncanny
Starring:
Chinatsu Wakatsuki, Mirai Ueno, Eriko Kazuto
Directed By:
Koji Shiraishi
Grade
C+

With so many Asian horror flicks that look alike and play out in similar fashions, one has to really make an effort to set themselves apart in terms of execution. While many films have at least managed a few disturbing moments here and there, it's quite difficult not to quickly draw a line between the feature and the likes of Ju-On or Ringu. In Ju-Rei, though, the way the story is told provides at least a bit of mystery.

Played out in ten chapters and a prologue, Ju-Rei is chronologically presented in reverse. The viewer begins at the final chapter and is pulled backwards through the story. While this may seem an odd way to do things, it is successful in keeping a bit of mystery to the proceedings. The viewer is assured that the person in the current chapter will die, but how and why they die is where they must piece the puzzle together.

As with many of these kinds of flicks, the story revolves around a disgruntled ghost that's killing people one by one. As the story moves along, viewers will realize that the spirits who are claiming people are those who died previously. I'm not going to lie to you about this - the story really isn't all that deep and the big "reveal" didn't really answer a lot of questions.

Where film does excel though is in the real-life presentation of the people and more than a few creepy sequences. Certain chapters, like the one with the little boy who is waiting for his mother to pick him up from the school, have sequences that are downright unnerving. And, the chapter with the older lady who is laying in her hospital bed as the spirit stands off in the distance, barely visible in her blurry vision proves to be unsettling as well.

The film quality is pretty low-grade and the special effects require a bit of imagination, but this overall "independent" feel to the film works in its favor. The film is pretty short and very little is revealed, leaving far more dead bodies than answers.

If you're looking for a rental to fill your Ringu/Ju-On void, then Ju-Rei makes for a nice diversion. There are more than a few moments that will leave you creeped out, but don't expect this to be the pinnacle of the genre.

- - Vane

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