Sorry about late posting! The day before yesterday was supposed to be ‘day 12’, but I picked a film from my 50 horror boxset, watched it and it wasn’t even a horror! If you’re curious about it, it was a film called The Fatal Hour and stars eyebrow-wizard, Boris Karloff.
Ju-on: The Grudge (2002):
A curse is inflicted upon a house, and whoever enters it is left terrified or dead.
This psychological horror has some interesting set-pieces in terms of how effective ‘jump n scream’ horror should be directed. It’s a horror film which is very good at surprising you, or catching you out with the child-monster coming out somewhere you didn’t expect. The child in this is remarkably quite sinister: he’s small, thin, has an innocent round head and adorable large eyes – yet with a painted face, blank expression and completely sterile-of-emotion-black-eyes, all of the ‘adorableness’ is sucked away. He’s called Toshio, and he usually lurks in corners, or behind windows or in the nooks and crannies of the house, and is the creepiest child in a horror film I’ve ever seen. Woop-woop.
The film has a different approach to the conventional horror structure. Rather than following one character’s journey, it follows several, so the film unfolds in a very episodic structure. Each chapter of the film allows us to see how that specific character(s) has been affected by the events, and tells its own story, and provides its own scares. However, jumping from one character to the next, doesn’t give us enough time to develop a relationship with any particular character, so the film feels more like a lot a horror-film-cum-sketch-show. This is at once an insult and a compliment: the film could have been more sinister if it stayed with one character, but the structure is very refreshing.
Perhaps another criticism of the film is its style of being creepy and sinister. It involves a lot of ‘jump’ moments, which are fine after the first half hour, but soon I got tired of them or managed to guess when they would come. Good ‘jump n scare’ horror manages to sustain this style throughout – Halloween for example – this, not so much in my opinion, it feels like its scare-factor weakens towards the end.
I usually despise the comparison of horror and comedy, because they – to me – anyway are complete opposites. However, they work in a similar way in terms of emotional reactions. Comedies – to be really successful – have to employ lots of different styles of jokes, otherwise you become immune to them. Constant one-liner gags get dull after a while, as do constant ‘jump n scream’ moments.