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Occult (2009) – Movie Review

Occult (2009) - Movie Review

NOTE: This is a Japanese film so the original film title is actually Okaturo….which I’m guessing means ‘Occult’ in Japanese (f##k I’m clever!).

I suppose I better start off by pointing out that rarely have I enjoyed a film so much…only to have been completely let down by it’s final scene!

Now, I don’t want to put people off, because this is an excellent Found Footage offering….

But I get the feeling that the filmmakers were late for an appointment when it came to the final scene of this film. I’m not joking here – a film budget of $1 would have greatly improved the ending of this film!

Sorry, I had to get that rant out of the way before I got into the guts of this title – that final scene really did knock me off balance!!!

The Plot

Koji Shiraishi is interested in a strange indiscriminate murder at a sightseeing resort. He goes behind the camera to investigate the circumstances surrounding strange occurrences and interview the survivors.

The Larger Mystery

I love it when the Found Footage genre manages to get a little deep with it’s plot lines – the recent House of Labrys managed it in style.

What makes Occult interesting is the way in which it hints at the much larger mystery hiding behind the initial one.

The film opens with a rather distressing murder rampage on a bridge above a scenic waterfall-based tourist attraction. From that moment onward the film gathers pace consistently and evolves beautifully.

I guess the main attraction with Occult is the fact it completely sidesteps just about every Found Footage angle that has been thrown out there in the past.

Now this could have led to disaster…but it really, really, worked well.

The story captivated me – and the Japanese actors involved managed to keep their ‘Japanese over-acting’ down to a minimum.

Everything glues together really well and seems to have followed a strict plot path – it doesn’t deviate.

Conclusion

It pains me to have to do this but it’s something that unfortunately stuck in my mind…along with all the positive aspects of the movie.

The final scenes.

Surely somebody out there must have noticed how bad this ending was?

The director, Kôji Shiraishi, was the guy behind the awesome Noroi: The Curse. Surely he deserved a SFX budget that was higher than the price of a broken iPod?

On top of that – surely one of his mates, family members or even cast members must have realized how shit that final scene was?

If I’d have come out with something similar to this film’s climax I would have expected a friend to go “No, no Chris – great film but that ending sucks ass!”.

But apparently the nearest and dearest to Mr. Shiraishi opted to keep their mouths shut on this one…which is a shame.

Occult (or Okaturo) is an EXCELLENT film – regardless of the pants ending. This ending is actually the ONLY negative thrown up by this Found Footage experience.

This truly was a low-budget film all the way through, and generally that’s okay – that’s one of the things that Found Footage movies do well…when intelligence is involved in the process (which it certainly was here).

All the way through the film the supernatural element was kept low-key and this is what made the plot so appealing to me…and then the final scene jumped out of the PC screen and slapped me like a bitch!

What was going through Mr. Shiraishi’s mind when he came up with this climax?

I guess we’ll never know…

But nobody’s perfect right?

Still a brilliant Found Footage movie and well worth watching.

Chris

15 Comments

  1. Hey Chris,

    i watched it couple of years ago. I think that the ending was really trashy but in some ways i liked the idea behind it. The rest of the movie was excellent.
    I guess you already watched “Noroi the curse” and “Cult” !?
    Otherwise get it!

    Now excuse me please, there is a half-pint of the finest Ale in front of me 🙂

    Iechyd Da!!! 🙂

    • Yeah the whole idea behind the ending was great – the climax was great…it’s just that last scene (you know the one – I won’t put up any spoilers!). I kinda felt sorry for the director not having any sort of FX fund to fall back on – that was a terrible scene LOL!

      Iechyd Da!!!! Someone’s been learning their Welsh! 🙂

  2. Hey, I’m glad you finally watched Occult I was going to suggest it to you as one of the best of all FF.

  3. Hey, glad you finally watched Occult. It is definitely one of the best. I would also recommend Shirome (white eyes) not sure if you have reviewed it already?

    • Hiya!

      Yeah I watched it for the first time about a year ago but it’s taken me this long to get around to reviewing it (I’ve got a huge backlog of Found Footage films here to get through!). I have watched Shirome but that was also a while back – I have to re-watch it to refresh my memory before getting it up on here (I can remember quite enjoying it though!).

  4. Really love this one. This director did a Found footage movie called “A record of sweet murder” that he puts way more of an effort in regards to the special effects for its finale and it is in the same cinematic universe as Occult, Noroi, and Cult (which I know u didn’t like:). I’ve only seen “A record..” without subtitles so had to guess what was happening-can’t really judge it as good or bad yet. The ending is definitely something to behold tho. If u find a copy with subtitles let me know. Thanks for the shout out :). Still check ur page every week for new reviews and for finding ff films to download

    • Hey Brandon!

      This cheered up my day – so you sat through a film in Japanese with no idea what they were saying…that’s killing me!!!

      Anyways – what’s happening on the Found Footage front – any other projects on the horizon?

  5. Just had the synopsis to go on so could tell basically what he was trying to do but not why or anymore details about the characters. The ending was amazing visually for sure-lovecraftian.
    I’m refining a script for a 5 minute found footage short film that is going to be pretty intense (ever here of the black eyed children?). It’s got a great lil ending.

    • I have indeed – I wrote an article on them for a ‘mysteries’ website about a year back (very interesting subject!). When do you think it will be ready Brandon?

      • Not sure on that yet or if going to make another 44 minute script as just went to locations in Corning, Arkansas (population less the 180…) and found the best sets and landscapes for that one and got a 1967 ford truck being fixed up for it. Plot is under wraps for now but will have a much bigger budget, more time, and already found the 2 leads. Sooo creepy out there at night since just flat wet earth (and lots of frogs and storms;). Going to use a Mavic Pro in this one (and a few other new goodies)

        Little teaser:
        is part of a new trilogy of mini horror found footage films lined up for full production.

        • Just had to check out Corning, Arkansas, on Wikipedia – sounds like a pretty awesome place! Got that Mormon church feel to it…

          • Lil correction to my bit. Is in McDougal Arkansas next to Corning. Is a lot smaller and just farms and industrial buildings and flat earth all around. It is creepy and desolate in every direction. Main set is a tricked out hunters cabin, duck blinds, and a few industrial parks and open fields. There are also a lot of abandoned houses/ neighborhoods so got several options to choose from there for the final sequence. Was surprised how perfect it all was for the new project.

          • Ahhh – I’ll have to get on Wikipedia again and check that out now! 🙂

  6. Oh yeah and an old high school that burned down in 1941 in Corning am hoping to get permission to film there. If not might have to do it anyway 😉

    • Do it anyway! Makes the whole process a lot more exciting (just leave the keys in the ignition for a quick getaway!)

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