The cult section of the literary world

World Horror Cinema: Japan

By Sam Reeve

Occult_film_2009_1aTitle: Occult

Year: 2009

Language: Japanese

My rating: 6/10

Some of you may remember that last October was Japanese Horror Month. I saw a lot of great films, but the one that scared me the most and has stayed on my mind was Koji Shiraishi’s No-roi (The Curse). Today I bring you Occult, a “found footage” mockumentary by the same director.

Koji plays “himself” in the film, and is making a documentary about an incident at a seaside resort where a man stabbed two people to death and carved strange symbols onto the back of another. The film floats out to stranger tides when the crew uncover weird, supernatural elements that link several players in this tale. Eventually the focus is solely on the surviving victim, a man in his 30’s who stays in cafes overnight and can’t hold down a job. Since the attack he’s been seeing supernatural “miracles”, as he calls them, and the filmmakers continue to find more bizarre, creepy clues.

This might sound a bit confusing or vague, but it’s really best if you go into it with little expectations. That’s what I did, and was pleased that is was a bit disorienting.okaruto 2009 koji shiraishi

Made with a handheld camera, the film had low quality visuals at times. The “miracles” witnessed were often these weird ghost/alien things that floated around in the sky, and they resembled blurry jellyfishes drawn in MS Paint (see above). The acting on the other hand was always good, and Shiraishi really knows how to concoct some disturbing scenes. Unlike most “shaky cam” movies, Shiraishi’s never annoy me. The acting is great enough that it doesn’t ruin the suspended disbelief in the way so many other mockumentaries do (I’m looking at you, Paranormal Activity).

I do recommend at least one viewing of Occult, though I can speak more highly of No-roi. I couldn’t find a clip or trailer that included English subs, but below you’ll find the full movie. If you’ve seen it, let us know what you think in the comments below!

2 responses

  1. Anton

    This has an element of everything bizarro – suicide bombing, ghosts, UFOs and even Cthulhu type entities. The effects are surprisingly basic but it hangs together nicely. 8/10.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:19 am

    • I agree! It’s definitely one of the more bizarro-friendly horrors I’ve seen.

      October 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm

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