Genre: Documentary-Styles Haunted Videos
review in one breath
This is the second in a LONG and popular series of documentaries investigating real-life cursed videos. This collection contains nine video clips believed to have captured a spiritual entity or be in some way the cause of misfortune for those who have seen them. The series' producers investigate the origin of each tape and interview eye-witnesses to their spooky impact. Then you are given a chance to see the tapes for yourself... AND THEN YOU TOO ARE CURSED!! Oh my.
Well, to make a very long story very short let me just say that this is a 1999 straight-to-video "film" by... drumroll please... Broadway Productions. Those of you intimately (oohh!) familiar with my review habits know well that I cannot even type the name "Broadway" without getting a furrowed brow and a strange grimace on my face. AND YET I KEEP COMING BACK FOR MORE. (??!) I have personally found watching Broadway productions to be something like eating incredibly spicy hot food. Though your mind and body are imploring to you stop ingesting the fiery food at the risk of death, the moment you stop, you have to shovel in another mouthful just to keep the utter pain in your mouth from exploding your head. Its a very vicious cycle, I tell you.
ANYWAY, so here we are, back again with another mind-shattering piece of work by my evil nemesis Broadway. If you have ever even brushed up against the seemy underbelly of the Japanese horror genre, you should be familiar with the the title Honto ni Atta! Noroi Bideo. Why, you ask? Because this series currently contains twenty nine different releases. (Don't believe me? Just look here.) Since its birth the year after the 1998 debut of Ringu, this "Cursed Video" (noroi bideo) series has been wildly popular resulting in four sub-series comprised of 26 collections and most recently, two theatrical releases (the first of which I reviewed HERE.)
Here I am reviewing number two (of 28) and thus needless to say the series is only at this point beginning to realize its blossoming popularity. Upon the producer's request, viewers throughout Japan have sent in their creepiest videos and accompanying tales to add fuel to the fire of this craze. This is perhaps somewhat like a Japanese version of the USA's popular TV show "funniest home videos" but requires a slight renaming, to something like "CURSED videos of the DAMNED" !!! And Yes, (several) people are said (and supposedly documented) to have died from watching these videos. (See what I risk to provide you people with j-horror reviews?? CAN YOU SEE?? My god, I think I've just discovered a malevolent lump in my typing finger..)
As mentioned earlier, this collection consists of nine separate video clips, each submitted to the producer by viewers. And the real kicker is that these ARE actual videos and the eye-witness accounts surrounding them ARE in fact real recollection. And YES, those said to have died have indeed died (at least in that nonchalantly non-verified way).
And if I may be serious for only a moment here, let me say that this is precisely the strength and source of this series' long running capture of the public's attention. These are actual, viewer-submitted videos accompanied by actual eye-witness testimony. Thus these video clips are grainy, vague and undoctored, but by the time you hear all the testimony and finally see the video clip yourself, you may just choke on your Dorito. This dynamic was the real (and only) power behind the theatrical release of this series I saw. In that film (and not this one) by the time they were ready to show you the video clip, you weren't sure whether to watch or look away based on the internal warning you were getting.
But that sensation describes a much more mature manifestation of what is here only germinally explored.
Here are the titles and brief descriptions of the nine video clips contained herein. (These translated titles are my own doing and are not necessarily strict translations of the Japanese titles -- for good reason.)
- 1. Disappearing Brother
This is actually the primary, over-arching narrative which is thoroughly introduced at the start of the video via interviews with the girlfriend, younger brother and acquaintances of a man whose homemade video has seemed to cause his death and the harm of many others. You are not privy to the final interviews and your own viewing of the clip until the end of this collection. (Consider that a brief extension of your impending CURSED DEATH!)
2. The Falling Head
A video of a junior high school girls' slumber party (don't even go there) reveals a bright object falling from above.
3. Face in the Side-view Mirror
A driver videotaping his late-night drive is startled to see a face (presumably not his own) looking back at him in his side view mirror.
4. Shadow on the Wall
Drama students at a Tokyo university have to do retakes of their filmed scenes due to an unexplainable shadow moving across their set. When they try the remake and then look at the film, the same shadowy figure reappears.
5. The Face in the Temple's Tree
This very brief clip shows a tourist's video of a local temple grounds. Apparently some have seen a ghastly face in one of the trees. I didn't.
6. White Dude by the Beer Machine
The real VALUE of this clip is its demonstration of how, in beloved Japan, you can walk to your corner vending machine, 24/7, and get BEER! Oh, and by the way, notice the creepy white guy peering from behind.
7. Train-Crossing Legs
This was a weird one. Late night cameras pointed at a rural train crossing show A PAIR OF LEGS walking through the guard rail. Interviewed locals vividly recall a (years-prior) tragic death at that same location.
8. The Disappearing Leg
First off, that momentarily footless dufus has a way too pretty girlfriend. If any of you sympathetic readers recognize her, please tell her I love her and that I (unlike her currently bleached bozo boyfriend) have both my feet (And I too can BBQ!!) So anyway, this dyed-blonde slacker-moron somehow hides his foot from the video cam and this beautiful girl is like "oohh Honey" and "my poor baby". I really didn't like this story...
A startlingly audible voice jolts a new father from vidoetaping his young son. It is clear from the video and audio that the father turned to capture a voice he heard speaking near his ear. But, of course, there was nothing to be seen.
I'll simply be honest and say: Out of every 1000 readers of this review less than ONE will actually see this. And if you are that one, I salute you. TOO BAD YOU WILL BE DEAD IN SEVEN DAYS!
Version reviewed: Unsubtitled VHS
|This is version 2 of 28 (!) of a wildly popular Japanese straight-to-video productions.||Nothing whatsoever.||Nothing.||Interesting as a very early example of an incredibly long running and prominent horror series.|