Ju-Rei: The Conventional

I watched Ju-Rei last night (Japanese title is actually kuro jurei (), lit. “black vengeful ghost”), which is a Japanese horror film by Koji Shiraishi. This movie is only interesting because it is like a catalog of Japanese horror movie elements, mostly ripped from much better films like Ring and Juon. The movie unfolds in ten chapters, and each chapter is like a study of a visual effect or horror mechanic used in some other popular Japanese horror film. It’s like an amalgam, but it’s mostly nonsensical and underwhelming. Features blatantly ripped off from other movies include (minor spoilers, beware):

  • Out-of-order story telling (Juon)
  • Ghosts as people with white faces, black eye shadow, and blackened mouths (Juon)
  • A cyclical curse that moves like a virus from one person to the next (Ring)
  • A Predator-like back-of-the-throat frog vocalization made by the bad things (Juon)
  • High-school girls home alone, investigating odd sounds in their house. (Ring)
  • Old women who can see the bad things even though the young people can’t. (Juon)
  • The blurry TV grain effect when baddies show up (Ring)
  • Female ghost things crawling on their hands towards their victims (Ring and Juon)
  • Reflections in mirrors that reveal people who, when you turn around, are not there (Ring, Juon)
  • Hands coming out of nowhere to grab a frightened girl (Juon)

The film’s one “innovation” is the interesting use of blur over the ghosts to make them look… well, ghostly. But the effect is fairly trite and it gets old very quickly. In all, I’d say the film is interesting if you enjoy catching “homages” to other Japanese horror movies, but on its own it’s pretty weak.

3 thoughts on “Ju-Rei: The Conventional

  1. i’ve seen that blurring effect in kiyoshi kurosawa’s horror movies “kourei” and “kairo.” i’m not sure which came first, but i have a feeling it wasn’t invented in “ju-rei.”
    i have to say, the ghosts in the two movies i mentioned above are amazing. very well done. his horror films are definitely my favorite in the genre.

  2. First of all…unless my copy of the movie is messed up it’s Ju-Rei: The Uncanny..

    Anyway…I really liked the movie…it wasn’t as scary as I was hoping..but I did have my frights..and laughs -imagines Junya falling from the stairs, making a *thud*.-

    That was my favorite part…

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