Although I’d chosen this one for the final few weeks of classics, I’ve found myself questioning whether or not to replace the original with the US remake. In my opinion a far better movie, which is sympathetic to it’s originating source yet creatively inspiring. A friend of mine mentioned yesterday, St John’s Wort as a progressive version of the Blair Witch. I agree totally, but it’s a strange contrast to compare a US remake over an original, usually recognized as destroying the primaries. I decided on the original, as I’d only seen it the once after many, several bottles of wine, and to be brutally honest, I could only remember very select moments.
The opening scene spans the basic plot, one which is simple and sleek. Two teenage girls hanging out in a sleepover scenario, eventually bring up a rumor of a video cassette which once viewed, curses the receiver, 7 days later with death. This is the same simple plot as Night of the Demon, based on MR James’ ‘Casting the Runes’, yet here we are with an Eastern original horror tale. A spate of cursed teenagers and kids suggest foul play to the detectives, but one family member of a victim takes the initiative and gambles on the superstition about the tape. When we eventually get to see the curse, it’s truly something to behold.
The film runs at a great pace and is much more comprehendible than I remember. We dive right into the plot which then runs as a detective movie, seeking out reason and questioning motives, the how’s and why’s of possibility. The supernatural side of things is brought to light when photographs taken of the victims show distorted faces. And then, the finest and most famous scene of the film, the girl from the well, climbing from the TV set. This is what makes this film stand out from the rest, a terrifying vision of supernatural horror cursed on the viewer and inflicted through the very device which offered the original experience. Too, here we sit experiencing at second hand via DVD. Brilliance and perfection at taking the basic MR James and remastering to this disturbing terror.