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Subverting Found Footage: The Uncanny Realism of ‘Noroi: The Curse’

Mockumentary > Found Footage
Noroi The Curse
By  · Published on August 17th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores a preferred alternative to the found footage subgenre of horror films.

Found footage is one of those subgenres that you either love or you hate. Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s one of those sub-genres that’s tricky to pull off because, in addition to being a storytelling device, found footage uses a hyperspecific, alienating visual format.

Over-enthusiastic shaky cam is nauseating. Amateur filmmakers are rarely, well, good with cameras. And jump-scares abound. All these criticisms are legitimate. But Accented Cinema appears to have cracked the code on why, exactly, found footage rubs so many people the wrong way.

Ironically, there is something inauthentic about found footage.

Offering 2005’s mockumentary Noroi: The Curse up as a counterexample, the video below underlines how horror mockumentaries have what found footage wants. Namely: a visual language that imparts authenticity and allows us to suspend our disbelief. Because Noroi frames itself as a documentary, its “found” aspects are bolstered with formal elements and b-roll that sells us on this footage being nonfiction. As a result, the film’s rabbit hole of escalating paranormal events is immersive, uncomfortable, and eerily cursed.

Watch “Noroi: Realistic J-Horror“:

Who made this?

This video was created by Accented Cinema, a Canadian-based YouTube video essay series with a focus on foreign cinema. You can subscribe to Accented on Cinema for bi-weekly uploads here. You can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).