Movie review: Ju-On 4: The Final Curse

Movie review: Ju-On 4: The Final Curse
PHOTO: Encore Films

Ju-On 4: The Final Curse

Genre: Horror

Duration: 91 minutes

Rating: 1.5/5

There is nothing quite like wanting to watch a horror flick for the sheer thrill of simply scaring yourself and ensuring that you will not have a very restful sleep for the night. Asian horror films tend to deliver on this.

Unfortunately, the (supposedly) final film of a long-running well-known franchise ultimately did not quite meet that expectation.

For those new to this Japanese horror movie franchise, Ju-on follows the trail of fatal deaths caused by the malevolent spirits of a murdered housewife, Kayako, and her young son, Toshio. Having been killed by her husband, Kayako and her son are soon cursed to become vengeful spirits that are capable of causing harm and killing people. This curse quickly affects many people, and soon takes on a life of its own as it starts to infect even the people that are in contact with the victims.

The story continues from the events of the previous film "Ju-on: Beginning of the End" - the sister of an elementary school teacher attempts to find out what led to her disappearance.

Following the same format of the previous instalments, the film is split into multiple segments shown in an anachronistic order, each named after their respective featured character of the segment.

From the start, the film attempts to bring the audience up-to-date on the bloody history, quickly showcasing the origin of the franchise and flashbacks of the previous film. However, those new or unfamiliar to the movies may still get lost in the mindless killings of the characters.

The movie wastes no times in trying to scare the audience from the get-go and continues to throw (what very quickly becomes expected) jump scares at an almost endless cycle. Despite that, most of us still held our hands in front of our eyes. If that was meant to be the whole point, then the movie has succeeded.

Certain scenes seem familiar and copy-pasted such as the iconic ghostly-hand-in-the-hair moment when the protagonist is in the shower, and the crawling ghost of Kayako going after her victims.

Halfway through the movie, it is easy to forget the protagonist's objective is supposed to be solving the mystery behind her sister's disappearance, and uncovering the secrets behind Toshio in favour of how the next character is going to be finished off.

Some scenes seem to end abruptly leaving the audience with more questions and feeling unsatisfied.

With the amount of scares and killings in the film, there is little time to actually develop the plot. The many segments don't actually add much value to the storyline but seem to only serve as springboards to the characters' very much expected deaths.

There were certain points in the film that did show potential to develop the story, such as humanising the familiar pale ghost, Toshio, and the introduction of a sickly girl. However, these were wasted in favour of quickly killing everybody off in almost forgettable deaths.

The film does give a sort of vintage and nostalgic feel where it seems like the sleepy town has never aged, despite the franchise being well over a decade old. This serves to help keep the story as close to the movie timeline as possible. However, the scare tactics and wardrobe used do come across as cheap and almost laughable.

In fact, there was a point towards the end of the film where an audience member exclaimed loudly "Ee-yer", and the whole theatre burst out laughing. Perhaps, it was not quite what the director had in mind with the unintentional comedic moments.

Overall, if you need a quick scare-fix (every 10 minutes or so), this movie might do it for you. Aside from that, the movie does little else.

The movie is now showing in cinemas islandwide.

rachbrab@sph.com.sg

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